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COPYRIGHT  DEPOSIT 


THE 


Life  and  adventures 


OP 


DAVID   LKWIS, 


THE 


ROBBER  AND  COUNTERFEITER. 


THE  TERROR  OF  THE  CUMBERLAITD  VALLEY. 


EDITED   BY 

0.  D.  RISHEL.  ^ 

I  ^ 

For  Sale  by  the  Publisher,  Agents  and  Booksellers. 


C.  D.  RISHEL,  Publisher, 

Newville,  Cumberland  County,  Pa. 

1890 


FT 


.C<^Lg 


Copyrighted  1890, 

BY 

C.  D.  RISHEL. 


The  New  Era  Print, 
Lancaster,  Pa. 


//-  nn^n^ 


PREFACE  TO  THIS  EDITION. 


rr^HE  editor  for  years  lamented  the  evil  influence  so  many  of  the 
-*-  books  on  exploits,  daring  deeds,  etc.,  exert  on  the  minds  of  the 
youthful  readers  of  the  land.  Generally  the  characters  are  held  up 
as  "worthy  of  admiration,  and  the  susceptible  and  unsuspecting  and 
unguarded  mind  is  unconsciousl}'  led  into  the  path  of  sin  and  crime. 

The  story  of  the  James  brothers  has  created  many  admirers  of 
those  desperadoes.  The  killing  of  one  of  them  by  Ford  has  brought 
on  Ford  the  anger  and  condemnation  of  many.  To  them  the  James 
brothers  were  martyrs  and  the  Fords,  assassins.      , 

We  are  desirous  to  contribute  of  our  ability  to  aid  in  counteract- 
ing such  evil  influences ;  and  hence  republish  with  marked  addi- 
tions the  life  of  David  Lewis,  the  robber. 

A  pamphlet  containing  his  confession  had  been  published  shortly 
after  his  death,  and  republished  with  some  additions  in  1853. 

We  have  listened  with  interest  to  the  many  traditions  which  are 

still  circulated,  and  had  intended  to  publish  several  of  them,  but  we 

are  not  writing  fiction,  hence  the  absence  of  such  matter. 

C.  D.  RISHEL. 
Newville,  Pa.,  September,  1890. 


LIFE    AND    ADVENTURES   OF   DAVID   LEWIS, 


PREFACE. 


THE  republication  of  this  work  is  from  a  copy,  which,  after  dili- 
gent inquiry,  was  found  in  the  possession  of  an  old  citizen  of 
Newville,  Cumberland  count3^  Although  it  contains  some  interest- 
ing adventures,  it  is  not  what  the  writer  of  this  preface  expected  to 
find  it.  Many  of  the  boldest  and  most  romantic  exploits  of  "  the 
great  robber,"  which  have  come  to  us  by  tradition,  are  entirely 
omitted ;  and  since  thej'  are  so,  are  probably  false.  But  quite  a 
number  of  robberies,  and  attempts  to  rob,  which  have  been  derived 
from  authentic  sources,  from  people  residing  in  the  neighborhood 
where  they  are  said  to  have  happened,  are  also  omitted.  Indeed  in 
the  following  confession,  Lewis  appears  rather  in  the  character  of  a 
burglar  than  a  robber.  There  is,  besides,  too  much  of  a  dabbling 
in  politics  to  give  the  work  the  appearance  of  a  very  honest  confes- 
sion. While  Lewis  apparently  professes  to  feel  himself  under  deep 
obligations  of  gratitude  to  Governor  Findlay,  he  nevertheless  takes 
several  opportunities  of  covertly  assailing  him  and  of  making  both 
him  and  his  party  odious  to  the  public. 

We  hardly  know  what  to  think  about  his  statements  in  regard  to 
his  education.  He  speaks  of  himself  as  an  entirely  illiterate  man, 
while  it  is  certain  that  before  he  started  in  his  career  of  crime,  he 
taught  a  school  in  the  lower  end  of  Cumberland  county ;  at  least 
some  very  respectable  citizens  of  that  portion  of  the  county  say 
they  went  to  school  to  him,  and  that  he  was  an  excellent  teacher, 
and  a  gentleman  in  his  manners. 

The  great  charm,  if  such  it  might  be  called,  that  has  been  woven 
around  the  name  of  Lewis,  arose  from  his  surprising  physical  powers 
and  activity ;  the  boldness  and  ingenuity  displayed  in  many  of  his 
robberies  ;  his  generosity  to  the  poor ;  his  firm  determination  never 
to  take  life,  except  in  self-defence,  and  the  "  magnanimit}^  "  that  is 
said  to  have  frequently  characterized  his  conduct. 

But  there  is  little  if  auy  trace  of  these  qualities  in  his  confession. 
If  they  ever  existed,  either  Lewis''  modesty  forbids  his  mentioning 
them,  or  the  writer  of  the  work  had  so  litte  love  for  them  himself 
as  to  deem  them  unworthy  of  notice.     Mankind  admire  agility, 


THE    ROBBER    AND   COUNTERFEITER.  5 

strength,  and  the  moral  faculties,  and  are  captivated  with  their  dis- 
play in  almost  any  character,  and  under  almost  any  circumstances. 
But  they  revolt  at  the  character  of  a  robber,  in  his  single  character 
as  such.  When  we  speak  admiringly  of  si\ch  men  as  Lewis  has 
been  described  to  have  been,  it  is  the  springs  of  the  moral  nature  at 
work  in  sympathy'  with  virtue,  bursting  from  the  midst  of  crime, 
which  had  apparently  fettered  it  down  :  it  is  not  the  criminal  him- 
self. A  highway  robber  is  sometimes  admired,  while  a  burglar  is 
universally  detested  ;  and  yet  they  are  both  mere  thieves  and  felons. 
But  there  is  a  species  of  bravery  in  the  first,  meeting  his  victim  face 
to  face  in  open  daylight,  which  is  looked  upon  as  manly.  He  is 
admired  still  more  if  his  crime  is  committed  without  brutality  ;  he 
is  admired  still  more  if  the  robber  is  polite  and  courteous,  esjyecially 
to  females,  if  there  be  an}'  in  the  party  he  plunders.  It  is  not  the 
robber,  therefore,  that  is  admired  ;  it  is  the  glimmering  of  virtue, 
heroism  or  gallantry,  that  breaks  out  even  in  crime.  On  the  other 
hand  a  burglar  stealthily  and  cowardly  enters  the  dwelling  at  the 
hour  of  midnight,  when  he  supposes  all  the  inmates  are  asleep,  and 
there  is  nothing  but  the  unvarnished  character  of  the  thief  and  felon, 
which  is  always  detested. 


LIFE   AND   ADVENTURES   OF   DAVID   LEWIS, 


INTRODUCTION. 


THE  world's  histoiy  is  one  enormous,  perpetual  exhibition  of 
human  life.  The  deep,  unfathomable  thoughts  of  the  human 
heart  rise  like  bubbles  from  the  depths  of  the  sea  to  the  surface, 
and  only  as  they  discover  themselves,  do  we  learn  what  the.y  are. 
Actions  invariablj'  speak  louder  than  words.  By  their  fruit  do  we 
know  all  men.  Men  are  books  to  be  seen  and  read.  To  be  read  as 
we  observe  their  actions  in  life.  The  world  is  a  stage  on  which  we 
all  will  appear  in  our  own  individualism.  The  character  of  the  man 
will  be  exhibited  without  au}^  assumption.  The  real  man  will  dis- 
cover himself,  in  spite  of  all  his  efforts  to  conceal. 

He  will  play  his  character  almost  unconsciously  to  himself. 
David  Lewis  became  what  he  was  by  allowing  the  inclinations  of 
his  thoughts  to  master  the  better  qualities  of  the  man.  A  robber, 
a  counterfeiter,  a  low,  degraded  character,  yet  we  cannot  fail  but 
discover  a  heart  averse  to  murder,  to  injustice,  to  dishonesty  in 
public  life,  to  wrongs  to  the  weaker  sexes. 

If  David  Lewis  liad  started  life  in  a  different  channel,  he,  no 
doubt,  would  have  been  an  honor  to  the  town  of  his  birth,  and 
would  have  gone  to  his  grave  lamented  by  many.  But  a  life  so 
eventful,  so  criminal,  went  out  like  a  smoking  lamp,  obscured  in 
darkness. 

David  Lewis  is  dead ;  his  remains  lie  slumbering  in  the  valley  of 
Centre  County,  but  he  has  left  on  record  a  brief  history  which  will 
live  for  years.  We  trust  to  employ  his  history  in  order  to  benefit 
mankind,  to  counteract  the  popular  desire  for  satanic  notoriety  and 
the  applause  of  the  vulgar  and  licentious. 

As  soon  as  it  was  learned  that  we  possessed  a  copy  of  the  con- 
fession of  Lewis,  the  robber,  as  he  is  commonly  called,  quite  a 
number  were  anxious  to  see  it,  in  order  to  gratify  the  passions  of 
curiositj'',  and  some  perhaps  to  feast  on  the  deeds  of  crime  and  ad- 
ventures of  a  truly  singular  personage. 

The  morbid,  craving  passions  of  the  natural  man  is  readily  stimu- 
lated by  thoughts  of  bravado,  chivalry  and  false  heroism.  Books 
of  the  blood  and  thunder  order,  of  piracy,  of  daring  deeds  and  acts 


THE   ROBBER    AND   COUNTERFEITER.  7 

of  cruelty,  of  adventures  among  Indians,  and  exploits  in  train  rob- 
bery, are  in  constant  demand  and  devoured  as  ravenously  as  a 
hungry  lion  would  enjoy  a  dainty  meal  on  the  body  of  a  native  of 
tjie  jungles. 

Book  writers  are  constantly  catering  to  such  appetites  and  de- 
sires, until  now  our  homes  and  libraries  are  literally  flooded  with 
the  most  pernicious  literature,  and  thousands  of  our  youth  are 
poisoned  with  their  degrading  and  ruinous  influence. 

Characters  of  the  most  inhuman  description  are  held  up  as  heroes 
and  as  benefactors,  and  are  lauded  to  the  highest  pinnacle  of  fame 
for  deeds  of  cruelty,  injustice  and  rapine,  and  are  almost  canonized 
as  saints  of  the  first  magnitude  in  the  constellation  of  benefactors 
of  the  human  race. 

Characters,  who  have  hurled  the  missies  of  destruction  and  death, 
and  left  distress  and  untold  suffering  in  their  trail,  if  they  have  but 
a  single  redeeming  quality,  are  praised  and  honored  more  than  the 
noblest  deeds  of  charity  and  mercy  of  the  best  and  grandest  men. 

Men,  proven  guilty  of  embezzlement,  of  bank  robbery,  of  forgery, 
of  murder  and  of  unnamed  crimes  are  frequently  made  the  subjects 
of  sympathy,  and  are  the  recipients  of  bouquets,  dainties,  books 
and  letters  of  love. 

Woman,  fair,  pure,  gentle,  innocent  woman,  sometimes  becomes 
so  grossly  infatuated  with  such  condemned  characters  imtil,  like  in 
the  case  of  Melinda,  the  wife  of  Lewis,  the  robber  and  counterfeiter, 
they  are  willing  to  sacrifice  principles,  home,  honor,  and  morals  in 
order  to  caress  the  greatest  villains  that  ever  languished  in  a  dun- 
geon or  expiated  their  crimes  on  the  gallows. 

Why  these  singular  phenomena  among  refined  intelligent  beings  ? 
It  seems  almost  incredible  that,  contrary  to  all  good  and  pure 
morals  and  adverse  to  public  safety  and  in  defiance  to  the  laws  of 
our  land,  and  the  high  commands  and  decrees  of  heaven,  that  crimes 
and  their  perpetrators  should  receive  so  great  sympathy  and  de- 
fenders among  a  people  so  highly  intelligent  and  so  pure  in  morals. 

The  character  referred  to  in  this  sketch  has  received,  because  of 
his  several  redeeming  qualities,  considerably  more  praises  than  are 
due  to  him.  Because  among  his  thousand  deeds  of  injustice  and 
crimes,  here  and  there  a  faint  star  of  some  act  of  kindness  glitters, 
and  the  beholder  is  enwrapt  on  discovering  a  single  star  in  the 
darkest  night  of  the  adventures  of  David  Lewis.  He  has  been 
looked  upon  as  the  Robin  Hood  of  Pennsylvania. 

David  Lewis,  no  doubt,  possessed   several   good  qualities,  un- 


8  LIFE   AND   ADVENTURES  OP   DAVID   LEWIS, 

noticed  in  the  life  of  a  truly  good  man ;  but  conspicuous  in  the 
the  life  of  a  criminal.  We  shall  not  attempt  to  elevate  Lewis,  the 
robber,  as  a  model  for  the  young,  nor  to  stimulate  emotions  for 
crime  and  daring  deeds ;  but  as  a  beacon,  a  flaming  fire  of  warning 
to  the  youth  of  our  land  against  following  the  natural  inclination 
of  their  thoughts  and  the  propensities  of  their  hearts.  We  trust 
under  the  Divine  blessing  many  of  our  interesting  readers  will  be 
benefited.  In  his  confession  Lewis  states  of  several  very  roman- 
tic, and,  to  some,  facinating  events  ;  but  we  call  the  attention  of 
our  readers  to  note  their  sequels.  How  truly  is  Holy  Writ  confirmed 
in  the  life  of  him  who  is  designated  as  a  daring  and  adventurous 
robber,  when  it  says :  "  The  way  of  the  transgressor  is  hard." 
"  There  is  a  way  that  seemeth  right  unto  man  ;  but  the  end  thereof 
are  the  ways  of  death." 


THE   ROBBER   AND   COUNTERFEITER. 


CHAPTER  I. 


Historic  Sketches  of  Cumberland  County.  Pa. — Carlisle — Dickinson  College 
— Springs  and  Caves — Shippensburg — Xewville — Cbambersburg.  Bedford 
County — Bedford  Springs.  Centre  County — Bellefonto — Landisburg — 
Stoystovrn. 

CUIMBERLAND  COUNTY. 

CUMBERLAND  County  was  erected  by  the  action  of  Governor 
James  Hamilton,  January  27th,  1150.  The  reason  for  adopting 
this  name  was  the  early  usage  of  selecting  some  name  from  among 
the  shires  of  England.  It  was  formerly  a  part  of  Lancaster  County. 
The  count}'  lies  altogether  in  the  valley  between  the  South,  or  as  Mr. 
Darby  terms  it,  the  Blue  Ridge,  and  the  Kittatinny  or  Blue  Moun- 
tain. The  surface  of  the  country  seems  determined  by  the  nature 
of  its  base.  The  limestone  section  is  comparatively  level,  and  the 
soil  superior  to  that  of  the  slate.  Water,  too,  is  much  more  equally 
distributed  on  the  latter  than  the  former  formation.  The  valley  is 
drained  hy  the  Yellow  Breeches  on  the  southeast  side,  and  by  the 
Conedogwinit  (Conodoguinet)  creek  on  the  northwest  side.  The 
population  were  chiefly  of  the  descendants  of  Germans  and  Scotch- 
Trish,  who  were  the  first  settlers.  It  amounted  in  1800  to  25,386  ; 
in  1810,  when  greatly  reduced  by  the  formation  of  other  counties, 
to  26,757  ;  in  1820,  after  the  subtraction  of  the  county  of  Perry,  to 
23,606,  and  in  1830  to  29,227,  including  945  colored  persons,  and 
seven  slaves.  There  were  also  included  in  the  foregoing  13  aliens, 
23  deaf  and  dumb,  and  four  blind.  The  surplus  produce  of  the 
county  consisted  of  wheat,  rye,  oats,  flour,  whiskey,  peach  and 
apple  brandy,  live  stock  and  salted  provision.  About  250,000 
barrels  of  flour  were  sent  to  market  annually,  prior  to  1832,  in 
which  time  there  were  six  furnaces  and  four  forges  in  the  county. 
Thomas  F.  Gordon,  from  whose  works  we  gather  some  of  our  infor- 
mation, says,  in  1832,  that  "  Heister  «fe  Co.  are  erecting  an  exten- 
sive rolling  mill  in  East  Pennsboro."  There  were  also  in  the 
county  62  grist,  55  saw,  eight  oil,  11  fulling  and  nine  clover  mills. 
There  was  also  a  very  extensive  woolen  manufactory^,  chiefly  em- 
ployed on  carpets  and  cassinettes,  on  Mountain  creek,  in  South 
Middletown  township.    There  were  about  25  churches  in  the  county. 


10  LIFE    AND   ADVENTURES   OF   DAVID   LEWIS, 

Carlisle,  the  county  seat,  was  founded  in  1751  by  the  proprietaries, 
who  purchased  several  farms  for  that  purpose.  In  1753  it  contained 
five  log  houses,  but  being  a  border  town  and  militar}^  post,  it  thrived 
rapidl}'.     In  1830  it  contained  650  houses  and  3,708  inhabitants. 

Gordon,  in  1832,  says  :  "  The  principal  streets  cross  each  other  at 
right  angles,  and  are  neatly  paved.  A  large  open  space  was  origin- 
ally left  in  the  centre,  which  is  in  a  great  part  occupied  by  two  stone 
churches,  a  market  house  and  a  commodious  court  house,  and  fire- 
proof offices.  Beside  these  the  public  buildings  in  the  town  are  six 
other  churches,  pertaining  to  the  English  Presbyterians,  Episco- 
palians, Lutherans,  German  Presbyterians,  Methodists,  Scotch  Pres- 
byterians and  Roman  Catholics. 

"  Dickenson  (Dickinson)  College,  built  of  limestone,  is  situated 
on  an  elevated  spot  on  the  west  part  of  town,  erected  on  the  site  of 
an  elegant  brick  edifice,  which  was  burned  in  1803.  The  present 
building  is  150  feet  in  length,  four  stories  high  and  surmounted  by 
a  beautiful  dome." 

"  This  college  received  its  name  in  memory  of  the  great  and  im- 
portant services  rendered  to  his  countrj'  b}^  John  Dickenson,  and 
in  commemoration  of  his  liberal  donation  to  the  institution  it  was 
established  and  incorporated  by  the  legislature  in  1783,  but  the 
funds  then  requisite  were  supplied  by  private  munificence.  But  in 
1786  the  State  gave  to  it  the  sum  of  $500  and  10,000  acres  of  land, 
and  in  1791,  $1,500,  and  in  1795  the  further  sum  of  $5,000." 

The  building  for  the  accommodation  of  students  having  been  de- 
stroyed b}"  fire  in  1803,  the  Legislature  authorized  the  treasurer  of 
Cumberland  county  to  pay  to  the  trustees  of  the  college  $6,000, 
from  the  arrearages  of  State  taxes  due  from  the  county  by  way  of 
loans,  and  by  an  Act  of  1806,  this  loan  was  increased  to  $10,000. 
The  college  struggled  on  until,  in  1828,  it  had  six  academical  in- 
structors, 22  graduates,  and  109  under-graduates,  and  assisted  six 
indigent  students. 

The  expenses  of  a  student  here  for  one  year,  with  the  exception 
of  his  books,  candles  and  clothing,  were  estimated  at  $176. 

East  of  town  were  extensive  barracks  and  other  buildings  erected 
during  the  revolutionary  war. 

SPRINGS  AND  CAVES  AS  DESCRIBED  BY  A  VeRITER  IN  1838. 

"  There  are  some  springs  and  a  limestone  cave  near  Carlisle  which 
merit  attention.  The  Sulphur  Springs  about  four  miles  north  of  the 
town,  on  a  branch  of  the  Conodoguinet  creek,  were  formerly  much 


THE  ROBBER  AND  COUNTERFEITER.  11 

frequented,  and  there  is  here  a  large  building  for  the  accomraoda- 
tiou  of  visitors.  In  the  centre  of  a  large  field,  a  mile  and  a  half  north 
of  town,  is  the  Hogshead  Spring,  in  a  conical  excavation  nearly 
sixtj'  feet  in  circumference,  having  a  limestone  wall  on  one  side, 
and  a  gentle  and  regular  descent  upon  the  other.  Six  or  eight  feet 
below  the  summit  is  an  arched  opening,  through  which  is  a  passage 
declining  at  an  angle  of  40°,  and  10  feet  deep,  wide  enough  to  ad- 
mit a  man  stooping.  At  the  bottom  of  this  cavity  is  a  pool  of  de- 
licious water,  apparently  stagnant,  yet  sweet,  cool,  and  refreshing  ; 
qualities  which  it  always  preserves,  but  there  are  no  visible  means 
by  which  the  basin  receives  or  discharges  it. 

"  On  the  banks  of  the  Conodoguinet,  about  one  and  a  half  miles 
from  Carlisle,  is  a  cave,  once  the  haunt  of  David  Lewis.  The  en- 
trance is  by  a  semicircular  archway,  seven  feet  high,  in  a  limestone 
rock,  of  twenty  feet  perpendicular  elevation.  So  true  and  finished 
is  the  curve  of  this  portal,  that  the  spectator  is  induced  to  believe 
it  to  have  been  perfected  by  art ;  and  such  opinion  is  corroborated 
by  the  apparently  dressed  surface  of  the  interior. 

"  The  first  or  ante-chamber  has  a  length  of  ninety  yards,  and  is 
high  enough  to  admit  the  visitor  to  stand  erect.  Three  passages 
branch  from  it.  That  on  the  right  is  broad  and  low,  and  from  the 
moisture  of  the  stones,  frequently  difficult  of  access.  It  leads  to  a 
chamber  as  large  as  the  first.  This  apartment  bears  the  name  of  the 
Devil's  Dining  Room.  Some  persons  assert  that  there  is  a  narrow 
and  unexplored  passage  leading  from  it.  The  centre  passage  from 
the  ante-chamber  is  very  narrow,  and  in  direction,  similar  to  a 
winding  stair  and  is  impassible  after  a  progress  of  ten  yards, 
and  terminates  in  a  perpendicular  excavation.  The  left  hand  pas- 
sage, at  the  distance  of  three  or  four  feet  from  the  entrance,  turns 
suddenly  to  the  right,  and  extends  nearly  thirty  j^ards,  with  suffi- 
cient breadth  and  height  to  permit  a  small  boy  to  creep  along  it ; 
but  it  becomes  thenceforth  too  straight  for  further  progress. 
About  seven  feet  from  the  entrance  of  this  gallery  are  several 
small  pools  of  water  formed  by  the  drippings  of  the  roof,  which 
have  been  mistaken  for  springs. 

"  This  cavern  is  dark  and  damp  and  must  be  examined  by  torch- 
light. An  opinion  prevails  in  the  neighborhood  that  the  Indians 
formerly  made  it  a  deposit  for  their  spoils,  and  an  asylum  in  sea- 
sons of  danger,  and  it  may  possibly  have  served  as  a  tomb ;  but 
none  of  the  articles  usually  buried  with  the  Indians  have  been 
found  here ;  yet  human  bones  were  formerly  seen  in  it." 


12  LIFE   AND   ADVENTURES  OF   DAVID   LEWIS, 

Newville,  south  of  Lewis'  cave,  in  Mifflin  township,  and  fre- 
quently visited  by  Lewis,  the  robber,  and  Ms  accomplices,  was  in- 
corporated by  Act  26th  February,  1811,  and  in  Lewis'  day  con- 
tained about  100  dwellings  and  several  mills  and  530  inhabitants, 
six  stores,  three  taverns,  one  Presbj'^terian  and  one  Seceder  church. 

Shippensburg  in  1830  contained  300  houses,  and  1808  inhabi- 
tants, one  Presbyterian,  one  Lutheran,  one  Seceder  and  one  Meth- 
odist church. 

Chambersburg,  Franklin  county,  one  of  the  most  flourishing  in- 
land towns  in  the  State  in  1832,  is  pleasantly  situated  at  the  con- 
fluence of  the  Falling  Spring  and  Conecocheague  creeks.  The 
site  of  its  location  was  selected  a  century  since,  (now  nearly  two 
centuries),  for  its  advantages  of  water  power  and  soil,  b}'^  Col,  Ben- 
jamin Chambers,  for  his  residence  and  settlement,  in  a  wilderness, 
through  which,  at  that  time,  roamed  the  red  men  and  the  animals 
of  the  forests.  He  erected  a  dwelling  and  the  first  mills  in  the 
count}^,  and  surrounded  them  by  a  fort,  which  sheltered,  from  the 
incursions  of  the  savages,  his  family  and  others  who  were  induced 
to  settle  in  his  neighborhood.  The  town  was  laid  out  in  1764.  In 
1830  it  contained  about  500  dwellings  and  a  population  of  2,764. 
Its  public  buildings  were  a  brick  court  house  and  count^^  offices, 
prisons,  eight  churches,  an  academy  of  brick,  three  stories  high,  a 
neat  banking  house,  a  Masonic  hall.  The  historian,.  1830,  says:  "A 
railroad  from  Harrisburg  to  Chambersburg  is  contemplated ;  a  sur- 
yey  and  report  has  been  made  thereon  in  1829,  by  which  it  appears 
that  the  length  of  the  line  is  nearly  56  miles,  and  the  estimate  of 
cost  $7,673.33  per  mile.  A  like  report  has  been  made  on  a  road 
proposed  through  Gettj^sburg  to  York ;  but  the  engineer  ("Wm.  R. 
Hopkins)  deems  that  no  advantage  which  can  be  derived  from  the 
road  will  justify  the  expense  of  its  construction." 

Landisburg  in  Lewis'  day  contained  about  50  dwellings,  one 
church,  four  stores  and  three  taverns,  and  about  300  inhabitants. 

Stoystown,  Somerset  county,  in  1820,  contained  about  40  dwell- 
ings, four  taverns,  four  stores  and  one  German  Reformed  Church. 

BEDFORD  COUNTY. 

THIS  mountain  county  was  taken  by  Act  of  9th  March, 
1771,  from  Cumberland  county.  It  is  highly  favored  with  a 
superfluous  supply  of  hills  with  such  continental  appellations  as 
Scrub  Hill,  Sideling  Hill,  Town  Hill,  Clear  Ridge,  Warrior's  Ridge, 
Tussey's  Mountain  and  Dunning's  Mountain  and  the  Allegheny. 


THE   ROBBER   AND   COUNTERFEITER.  13 

Between  these  lofty  ridges  are  delightful  valleys  in  which  are  large 
and  fertile  farms.  The  average  price  of  improved  land  in  the  days 
of  Lewis,  the  robber,  was  thirty  dollars  per  acre.  Mountain  land 
sold  at  from  25  to  50  cents. 

The  county  in  1790  had  a  population  of  13,12-i ;  in  1800,  12,039; 
in  1810,  15,746  ;  in  1820,  20,248,  and  in  1830,  24,557,  including  one 
slave  and  432  colored  people.  There  were  35  aliens,  13  deaf  and 
dumb,  and  8  blind  persons. ' 

In  those  days  the  usual  wages  for  good  farm  hands  were  from 
$5  to  $7  per  month,  including  board;  if  by  the  day,  from  31  to  37^ 
cents.  Cradlers  got  about  75  cents  and  reapers  and  mowers  37^ 
to  50  cents.  Here  is  a  graphic  pen  picture  from  a  writer  of  those 
good  old  days.  "  When  we  wish  to  clear  a  piece  of  land,  we  in 
the  first  place  stake  it  off,  and  provided  with  a  grubbing  hoe,  take 
up  by  the  roots  every  bush  or  sapling  which  a  stout  man  can 
shake  in  the  root  by  grasping  the  stem  and  bending  it  forward  and 
backwards. 

"  If  the  roots  give  to  this  action  it  is  called  a  grub  and  must  be 
taken  up.  Dog-wood,  iron-wood  and  witch  hazel  are  always  classed 
among  grubs  whether  they  shake  in  the  roots  or  not.  We  then  cut 
down  everything  which  does  not  exceed  12  inches  across  the  stump. 
Such  parts  of  the  saplings  as  are  fit  for  ground-poles  are  chopped 
at  the  length  of  1 1  feet.  Next  the  trees  are  deadened,  leaving  one 
or  two  for  shade.  This  process  consists  in  chopping  entirely  round 
the  tree  a  curf  of  three  or  four  inches  wide.  The  advantage  of 
deadening  timber  is  immense  ;  labor  is  saved  in  chopping  down  and 
burning  the  stuff.  Indeed,  in  this  country  it  is  not  possible  to  cut 
down  the  timber,  unless  we  live  in  the  vicinity  of  Bedford,  because 
farmers  are  not  rich  enough  to  pay  for  it.  In  eight  or  ten  years 
the  timber  begins  to  fall.  When  the  ground  is  pretty  well  covered 
with  old  logs,  the  farmers  go  in  to  nigger  off.  This  is  effected  by 
laying  the  broken  limbs  and  smaller  trees  across  the  logs  and  put- 
ting fire  to  it.  Boys  or  women  follow  to  chunk  up  the  fire.  In  a 
day  or  two  the  logs  are  niggered  off  at  the  length  of  12  to  15  feet. 
When  the  trees  are  thus  reduced  to  lengths  that  can  be  handled  b}' 
men,  the  owner  has  a  log-rolling. 

"  He  gives  the  word  to  eighteen  or  twent}-  of  his  neighbors  the  day 
before  the  frolic,  and  when  they  assemble  they  generally  divide  the 
force  into  two  companies.  A  captain  is  chosen  by  acclamation  for 
each  company,  and  the  captains  choose  their  companies,  each  nam- 
ing a  man  alternately. 

"  When  the  whole  is  formed  they  set  to  work,  provided  with  hand- 


14  LIFE   AND   ADVENTURES   OF   DAVID  LEWIS, 

spikes,  and  each  company  exerts  itself  to  make  more  log  heaps  than 
the  other.  Nothing  is  charged  for  the  work,  and  the  only  thing  ex- 
ceptionable in  these  frolics  is  the  immoderate  use  of  whiskey.  In 
general,  great  hilarity  prevails,  but  these  meetings,  like  others  in 
this  county,  are  sometimes  disgraced  by  dreadful  combats  between 
the  persons  composing  them.  In  addition  to  our  log-rolling  frolics, 
we  have  frolics  to  haul  out  dung,  to  husk  corn,  and  to  raise  our 
buildings. 

"  The  corn  husking  is  done  at  night.  The  neighbors  meet  at  dark ; 
the  corn  has  been  previously  pulled,  and  hauled  in  a  pile  near  the 
crib.  The  hands  join  it,  the  whiskey  bottle  goes  round,  the  story, 
the  laugh,  and  the  rude  song  are  heard.  Three  or  four  hundred 
bushels  are  husked  by  ten  o'clock ;  a  plentiful  supper  is  provided, 
and  sometimes  the  frolic  ends  with  a  stag-dance,  that  is,  men  and 
boys,  without  females,  dance  like  mad  demons,  to  the  time  of  a 
neighbor's  cat-gut  and  horse  hair." 

"  We  raise  no  cotton  or  sugar  cane,  but  we  manufacture  sugar 
from  the  sugar  maple.  A  tree  is  calculated  to  produce,  a  season, 
a  barrel  of  water  of  thirty  gallons,  and  it  requires  six  gallons  to 
make  a  pound  of  sugar.  A  average  price  of  maple  sugar  is  from 
six  to  ten  cents  per  pound." 

The  most  impoi'tant  town  in  the  county  is  Bedford,  the  county 
seat.  It  was  formerly  called  Raystown ;  from  it  the  stream  on  which 
it  lies  took  its  name.  It  contained  in  1830,  8T9  inhabitants,  and 
consisted  of  150  dwellings,  8  stores  and  8  taverns.  The  chief  attrac- 
tion of  Bedford  is  the  mineral  springs  in  its  vicinity.  The  curative 
power  of  these  springs  is  said  to  have  been  discovered  in  1804  by  a 
mechanic  of  Bedford,  while  fishing  for  trout  in  the  stream  near  the 
principal  fountain.  He  was  attracted  by  the  beauty  and  singularity 
of  the  waters  flowing  from  tl^e  bank  and  drank  freely.  They  pro- 
duced purgative  and  sudorific  effects.  He  had  suffered  many  years 
from  rheumatic  pains  and  formidable  ulcers  in  the  legs.  On  the  en- 
suing night  he  was  more  free  from  pain,  and  slept  more  tranquil  than 
usual,  and  this  unexpected  relief  induced  him  to  drink  daily  of  the 
waters,  and  to  bathe  his  limbs  in  the  fountain.  In  a  few  weeks  he 
was  entirely  cured.  The  happy  effect  which  they  had  on  this  patient, 
led  others,  laboring  under  various  chronic  diseases,  to  the  springs. 
In  the  summer  of  1805  many  valetudinarians  came  in  carriages  and 
encamped  in  the  valley,  to  seek  from  the  munificent  hand  of  nature 
their  lost  health. 

The  old  jail  of  Bedford  was  the  one  out  of  which  David  Lewis 
and  others  escaped. 


THE  ROBBER  AND  COUNTERFEITER.  15 


CENTRE  COUNTY. 


CENTRE  county  was  formed  by  Act  13th  February,  1800.  By 
the  same  act,  the  trustees  therein  named  were  authorized  to 
take  assurance  for  the  payment  of  money  and  grants  of  land,  stip- 
ulated for  by  James  Dunlop  and  James  Harris,  and  such  others  as 
might  be  offered  to  them,  in  trust  to  dispose  thereof  one  moiety  in 
some  productive  fund  for  the  support  of  an  academy  or  public 
school  in  the  countj^,  and  with  other  moneys  to  be  raised  in  the 
count}^,  to  erect  public  buildings  for  the  county  in  the  town  of 
Bellefonte. 

The  editor  of  the  Bellefonte  Patriot^  previous  to  1832,  gave  the 
following  spirited  passage  : 

"  We  will  close  our  remarks  with  one  word  for  our  county  in 
general ;  most  emphatically  called  Centre  county ;  and  as  it  is  the 
heart  of  the  State  by  geographical  position,  so  it  is  the  head  by 
local  advantages.  We  except  none,  unless  Huntingdon  and  Mifflin. 
True  we  have  mountains,  but  we  have  plains,  and  our  mountains 
are  as  valuable  as  valleys.  First,  they  preserve  health  ;  we  have  no 
fever,  nor  chills ;  but  many  births  and  few  deaths ;  second,  our 
mountains  abound  with  fine  timber  of  every  kind  and  quality  ;  and 
third,  with  mineral  wealth  ;  and  fourth,  when  fruit  is  destroyed  by 
frost  on  our  valleys,  it  is  preserved  on  our  mountains.  In  short,  for 
fertilit}'  of  soil,  mineral  resources,  manufacturing  advantages,  and 
everj'thing  which  can  contribute  to  man's  comfort  and  happiness,  it 
is  scarce  equalled,  certainly  not  surpassed,  by  any  county  in  the 
State.  It  is  none  of  your  whortleberry,  cranberry,  or  hemlock 
counties,  calculated  to  nurture  wolves,  bears  and  panthers,  and  not 
for  the  residence  of  man  ;  but  a  county  abounding  with  advantages 
which  have  not  yet  been  duly  estimated,  but  which  undoubtedly 
will  be,  when  the  West  Branch  caiml  is  constructed,  and  the  Ameri- 
can protecting  system  goes  into  vigorous  operation." 

The  population  in  1800  was  5,000 ;  in  1810,  10,681  ;  and  in  1820, 
13,796,  including  262  colored  persons  and  five  sltvves ;  deaf  and 
dumb  six,  and  two  blind. 

The  principal  town  and  county  seat  is  Bellefonte,  and  contained 
in  1810  a  population  of  203;  in  1820,433;  1830,  699.  In  Belle- 
fonte jail  David  Lewis  ended  his  days. 


16  LIFE   AND   ADVENTURES   OP   DAVID   LEWIS, 


CHAPTER  II. 


Doubling  Gap — Mineral  Springs — Indian  Trails — Big  Beaver — Shosones 
Tribe — Captain  Jack,  the  Black  Rifle — His  Family  Murdered — Swears 
Eternal  Vengeance  Against  the  Indian — Many  a  Scalp  Decorated  his  Cave 
— Was  Scalped  Alive  and  Tortured  to  Death — Blockhouse  in  the  Gap — 
Early  Settlers — Flat  Rock — The  Great  Summer  Resort — Fruit  Farm — One 
of  Lewis'  Haunts — The  Erection  of  the  New  Resort — Lewis'  Cave — Lewis, 
the  Robber — The  Springs — Its  Ingredients. 


THE  hardy  pioneers  of  the  early  history  of  the  valley,  in  pene- 
trating the  vast  forests  in  their  westward  march  of  civilization, 
in  determining  their  location,  were  always  tempted  by  the  streams 
of  water  flowing  through  the  deep  recesses  of  the  forest,  or  were 
attracted  by  the  various  springs  found  in  the  wilderness.  Some  of 
these  springs  possessed  peculiar  medicinal  properties,  and  are  yet 
remembered  on  account  of  their  containing  some  remedial  virtue. 
This  is  chiefly  so  on  the  north  side  of  the  valley,  skirting  the  base 
of  the  Kittatinny  Mountains,  and  in  a  few  isolated  cases  found  near 
the  centre  of  the  valley,  but  not  outside  of  the  shales  or  slate  rock 
formations. 

The  principal  ones  which  have  a  wide  celebrity,  and  the  most  com- 
monly known,  are  the  Mineral  Spi'ings  of  Doubling  Gap.  The  early 
history  of  these  springs  is  somewhat  in  doubt,  but  it  is  a  certain 
fact  that  Doubling  Gap,  to  the  pioneer  settlers,  was  one  of  the 
earliest  known  of  the  numerous  gaps  in  this  range  of  mountains. 
This  gap  has  figured  prominently  in  the  traditions  of  the  first  set- 
tlers, and  was  quite  prominent  as  a  commanding  pass  from  the  Sho- 
sone  Indians  on  the  south  to  the  fierce  Tuscororas  on  the  north 
long  before  th^  time  that  a  white  settler  had  dared  to  set  a  foot  in 
this  wild  region.  During  the  colonial  Indian  wars  an  Indian  trail 
from  the  Susquehanna,  starting  from  the  mouth  of  the  Juniata  and 
following  a  direct  course  through  Doubling  Gap,  thence  to  the 
mouth  of  Brandy  Run,  at  the  Conodoguinet  creek,  continued  to  the 
intersection  of  the  great  trail  leading  from  the  Susquehanna  river 
to  the  Ohio  in  the  west.  In  fact  it  is  asserted  that  the  springs  in 
the  gap  were  well  kpowu  and  resorted  to  frequently  by  the  Indians 


THE  ROBBER  AND  COUNTERFEITER.  IT 

who  had  learned  of  their  health-giving  properties,  and  their  location 
and  medicinal  properties  were  handed  down  from  one  generation  to 
another.  Certain  it  is,  that  to  the  earliest  settlers  they  were  well 
known,  and  it  is  fairly  to  be  presumed  thej'  received  their  knowledge 
from  the  wild  inhabitants  of  the  forest. 

An  early  writer,  in  referring  to  Doubling  Gap,  sa3's  :  "  The  place 
for  many  miles  around  is  invested  with  many  historical  facts  and 
legends  connected  with  the  early  settlements  of  the  country".  It 
was  in  the  adjoining  valley  (Sherman's)  and  on  these  mountains 
that  Big  Beaver,  a  chief  of  the  Shosones,  with  his  tribe  in  1752 
and  for  years  before  had  their  hunting  grounds,  having  been  driven 
in  1677  from  Carolina  and  Georgia.  This  valley  was  the  grave  of 
many  of  his  children  and  the  scene  of  many  a  massacre.  It  was 
where  the  far-famed  and  many-named  Captain  Jack — the  Black 
Rifle — the  Wild  Hunter,  etc. — entered  the  woods,  built  his  cabin 
and  cleared  a  little  patch  of  land  within  sight  of  the  spring  and: 
amused  himself  with  hunting  and  fishing.  He  was  happ}',  having 
not  a  care,  but  on  returning  home  one  evening  found  his  cabin, 
burnt  and  his  wife  and  children  brutally  murdered  by  the  Indians. 
From  that  moment  he  forsook  civilized  man,  lived  in  caves,  pro- 
tected the  inhabitants  from  the  Indians  and  seized  every  oppor- 
tunity for  revenge  that  offered. 

"  It  is  authentically  stated  that  the  person  here  referred  to  was  one 
Joseph  Ager,  or  Aiger,  who  with  Lis  father  and  inoiher  located' 
here  as  early  as  1751;  that  on  returning  home,  weary  from  a  day's 
hunt,  he  found  his  aged  father  and  mother  murdered  and  scalped  by 
the  Indians.  This  was  about  the  year  1 755.  Over  their  dead  bodies, 
it  is  said,  he  swore  eternal  enmity  to  all  Indians  and  devoted  him- 
self to  their  destruction.  Burying  the  bodies  of  his  beloved  parents 
he  returned  to  the  mountains  and  secreted  himself  along  the  Indian 
trail,  and  many  an  unsuspecting  savage  fell  beneath  tlie  unerring 
aim  of  his  deadly  rifle.  Here  he  lurked  for  years,  little  known 
among  the  haunts  of  the  white  man,  but  ever  on  the  path  of  the  red 
man,  sleeping  in  the  open  air  even  in  times  of  the  most  extreme 
danger  and  fleeing  only  when  pursued  by  an  overpowering  band  of 
Indians  to  the  recesses  of  his  rocky  cavern.  He  was  held  in  such 
dread  by  the  tribes  which  infested  this  region  that  their  trail 
through  the  gap  was  almost  wholly  abandoned  by  them.  Scores  of 
gory  scalps  hung  from  the  roof  of  his  rocky  caves ;  his  prowess 
struck  terror  to  the  savages  and  his  exploits  and  his  name  traversed 
the  wilderness  beyond  the  Allcghcnies  to  the  headwaters  of  the 
2 


18  LIFE   AND   ADVENTURES   OF   DAVID   LEWIS, 

Ohio  river.  He  at  last  was  surprised  and  fell  into  the  hands  of  his 
savage  foes,  who  scalped  him  alive  and  tortured  him  to  death  at  or 
near  the  spring  that  is  the  headwaters  of  the  stream  flowing  into 
the  valley  below.  A  mound  of  stones  was  raised  over  his  body  by 
his  friends ;  and  some  of  the  older  inhabitants  of  that  section  af- 
firm its  remains  could  be  distinctly  seen  until  very  recently. 

One  of  the  oldest  block-houses  in  the  valley  was  built  along  this 
trail  a  short  distance  below  the  springs  ;  portions  of  its  remains 
still  existed  years  ago  and  were  well  known  to  man}^  who  resided 
in  that  locality  not  many  years  ago. 

Doubling  Gap  was  formerly  known  as  "  McFarlan's  "  Gap.  James 
McFarlan  located  about  1000  acres  of  land  just  below  the  gap,  and 
we  find  in  the  court  records  of  the  county  for  April,  1791,  the 
petition  for  a  road  "  from  Thomas  Barnes'  sulphur  spring  in  the  gap 
formerly  known  as  McFarlan's  Gap  to  Carlisle."  The  above  indi- 
cates the  original  name  of  the  gap,  but  at  what  time  subsequent  to 
the  year  1791  it  assumed  its  present  name,  we  have  no  definite 
knowledge. 

The  formation  of  the  gap  is  peculiar,  being  formed  by  the  lapping 
or  turning  of  the  mountain  back  on  itself,  being  shaped  on  its  sum- 
mit somewhat  like  the  letter  "  S."  Facing  you  from  the  south  stand- 
ing in  the  valley  below  is  "  Round  Knob,  "  rising  about  fourteen 
hundred  feet  above  tidewater ;  on  the  top  of  this  is  "  Flat  Rock," 
one  of  the  most  noted  lookouts  in  this  range  of  mountains  from 
which,  as  has  been  said,"  may  be  had  a  view  of  peculiar  and  excep- 
tional beauty  and  grandeur."  The  whole  Cumberland  valley,  from 
the  Susquehanna  with  its  varied  scenes  and  objects,  its  wealth  of 
agriculture,  its  busy  towns,  fields  and  forests,  is  placed  before  you. 
Beyond  you,  limiting  your  range  of  vision,  is  the  blue  boundary  of 
the  South  Mountain,  while  below  you  is  the  silvery  line  marking 
the  tortuous  flow  of  the  Conodoguinet,  winding  through  the  land- 
scape on  its  way  to  the  majestic  Susquehanna. 

In  the  valley  between  the  mountains  are  located  the  springs  with 
a  large  and  commodious  hotel  150  feet  in  length,  with  fountains, 
pavilions,  lakes  and  large  shaded  lawns.  Of  the  great  summer  re- 
sorts which  invite  the  dwellers  of  cities  to  their  cool  shades  and 
sparkling  waters,  few  can  offer  superior  inducements,  as  a  cool  and 
delightful  summer  resort,  to  those  held  out  b}^  Doubling  Gap 
Springs.  Its  climate  is  cool  and  refreshing,  the  elevation  is  high, 
the  atmosphere  pure  and  braciug,  the  nights  cool.  At  first,  the 
water  was  carried  av/ay  in  vessels,  and  used  at  home ;  then  an  oc- 


THE  ROBBER  AND  COUNTERFEITER.  19 

casional  visitor  found  boarding  in  a  neighboring  family,  and,  as 
the  reiDutation  of  the  waters  increased,  a  summer  boarding  house 
was  provided,  which  was  located  a  short  distance  below  the  springs 
on  what  is  now  known  as  the  "Fruit  Farm."  It  was  used  as  a 
hotel  as  early  as  1800,  and  was  one  of  the  places  in  the  mountains 
frequented  by  "  Lewis,  the  robber."  This  hotel  was  well  patron- 
ized by  travelers  on  the  State  road  leading  from  Cumberland 
county  to  Bloomfield,  and  had  a  number  of  different  proprietors 
nntil  about  the  year  1846,  when  an  association  was  formed  for  the 
purpose  of  enlarging  the  old  building  or  erecting  a  new  one  for  the 
accommodation  of  the  numerous  patrons  of  the  Springs.  This 
association  was  composed  of  the  following  members,  to  wit :  Fred- 
erick Watts,  Samuel  Ahl,  Jamison  Hannon,  P.  A.  Ahl,  Joseph 
Hannon,  John  Dunlap,  Thomas  McCandlish,  James  McCandlish, 
Thos.  A.  McKinuey,  John  Waggoner,  Kobert  Laird,  Samuel  Mur- 
ray Davidson  and  Jacob  Sterrett.  This  management  disposed  of 
the  springs  to  Scott  Coj'le,  who  erected  the  large  and  commodious 
hotel  now  on  the  grounds,  about  the  year  1856,  and  has  been  a  pop- 
ular resort  ever  since  its  erection  and  are  now  owned  b}-  the 
Messrs.  Ahl,  of  Newville,  Fa. 

Part  wa}^  up  the  knob,  on  the  path  to  Flat  Rock,  are  the  remains 
of  Lewis'  Cave,  a  deep  recess  under  a  shelving  rock.  This  tvas 
the  retreat  of  Lewis,  the  robber,  a  notorious  outlaw,  well  known 
throughout  the  counties  adjoining  this  range  of  mountains.  Here  he 
hid  from  justice  during  the  years  1816-20.  Lewis  practiced  com- 
munism— at  least  he  boasted  that  he  was  not  a  robber,  but  an 
equalizer,  because  he  took  from  the  rich  and  gave  to  the  poor, 
single  handed,  usually,  but  sometimes  with  an  assistant.  He  had 
fast  friends  in  the  few  inhabitants  of  the  gap,  who  would  frequentlj' 
assemble  with  him  at  the  summer  hotel,  as  then  kept,  and  pass  a 
jolly  night  at  the  expense  of  the  generous  outlaw. 

In  referring  to  a  writer  of  the  history  of  Cumberland  county 
(Dr.  Wing)  it  is  there  stated  that  the  old  hotel  was  kept  by  one 
Nicholas  Howard  (or  as  some  assert  Jacob  Howard)  of  Newville, 
who  was  a  fast  friend  of  Lewis.  When  the  coast  was  clear  of  all 
danger  he  would  hang  out  a  flag  from  the  the  upper  window  of  his 
hotel,  which  was  visible  from  the  cave,  and  otherwise  kept  him 
acquainted  with  the  movements  of  the  officers  of  the  law,  who  were 
seeking  his  apprehension.  When  dangerous  persons  were  around, 
or  the  officers  were  on  the  lookout,  he  had  to  confine  himself  to  his 
cave  and  was  compelled  to  rely  for  his  supplies  through  some  of 


20  LIFE   AND   ADVENTURES  OF   DAVID   LEWIS, 

his  friends  in  the  neighborhood.  It  was  universally  believed  that 
this  friendl}^  service  was  performed  by  one  Robert  Moffitt,  who  was 
noted  for  his  tender  feelings  and  kindheartedness,  and  who  for  one 
moment  never  supposed  that  he  did  wrong  in  befriending  one,  even 
an  outlaw. 

The  waters  of  these  springs  were  submitted  to  Prof.  James  C. 
Booth,  a  practical  and  competent  chemist  of  the  U.  S.  Mint,  Phila- 
delphia, who  reported  the  following  in  his  analysis  : 

"  The  odor  of  sulphuretted  hydrogen,  perceived  at  some  distance 
from  the  spi'ing,  imparts  to  this  water  the  peculiar  properties  of 
the  Sulphur  Springs.  Besides  this  ingredient,  I  find  in  the  waters 
carbonate  of  soda  and  magnesia,  Glauber  salt,  Epsom  salt  and 
common  salt,  ingredients  which  give  it  an  increased  value.  After 
removing  the  excess  of  carbonic  acid  which  it  contains,  there  is  an 
alkaline  re-action. 

"  The  chalybeate  water  readily  yields  a  precipitate  after  ebullition 
or  continued  exposure  has  expelled  the  excess  of  carbonic  acid. 
Besides  the  bi-carbonate  of  iron,  which  is  its  chief  characteristic, 
it  also  contains  Epsom  salt,  common  salt  and  carbonate  of  mag- 
nesia." 

The  immediate  surroundings  of  the  hotel  exhibit  the  natural  fit- 
ness of  the  place  for  a  summer  retreat.  The  temperature  in  mid- 
summer usually  ranges  ten  degrees  below  that  of  the  centre  of 
Cumberland  Valley,  a  refreshing  breeze  being  one  of  its  almost  con- 
stant features.  The  place  is  easy  of  access,  being  but  eight  miles 
from  the  railroad,  and  the  distance  from  Baltimore  only  120  miles, 
Washington  115  miles,  Philadelphia  145  miles,  and  Harrisburg  40 
miles. 

Seated  on  the  piazza  of  the  hotel,  gazing  dreamily  at 

"Thehillg, 
Rock-ribbed,  and  ancient  as  the  sun  ;  the  vales 
Stretching  in  pensive  quietness  between  ; 
The  venerable  woods,     ****** 
*****    and  the  complaining  brooks 
That  make  the  meadows  green;" 

we  can  imagine  the  stirring  events  of  those  early  days  when  the 
smoke  of  the  Indian's  wigwam  floated  lazily  through  the  tops  of  the 
majestic  oaks,  and  his  fires  reflected  in  the  waters  of  the  valley; 
when  the  panting  deer  bounded  along  the  trail  pursued  by  the 
dusky  hunter ;  the  warrior's  echoing  whoop  resounding  through  the 
forest ;  the  blaze  of  some  attacked  settler's  dwelling  ;  the  inmates 


THE  ROBBER  AND  COUNTERFEITER.  21 

startled  from  their  peaceful  slumber  by  the  fierce  war-cry  of  his 
enemy,  rushing  from  the  deadly  peril  within,  only  to  be  met  without 
by  the  deadly  tomahawk  and  the  reeking  scalping  knife.  The  white 
hunter  pursuing  cautiously  the  Indian  trail,  glancing  furtivel}^  from 
side  to  side  and  penetrating  the  gloomy  forest  with  his  piercing 
eye  ;  the  timid  traveler  watching  for  and  fearing  the  attack  of  the 
bold  and  daring  robber,  Lewis,  that  chivalrous  highwayman  whose 
exploits  have  been  the  subject  of  many  a  story,  and  many  an  oft-re- 
peated tale. 

But  now,  how  changed.  Instead  of  forests  are  beautiful  groves 
with  winding  promenades  ;  the  echoing  whoop  and  the  shrill  war- 
cry  has  given  way  to  the  "  merry  laugh  of  many  male  and  female 
voices,"  and  instead  of  the  dusky  savage  and  the  bold  highwayman, 
are  many  of  the  inhabitants  of  the  busy  towns  and  populous  cities 
who  seek  this  cool  and  delightful  mountain  resort  for  pleasure, 
recreation  and  health. 

"Like  the  shadows  in  the  stream, 
Like  the  evanescent  gleam 
Of  the  twilights'  failing  blaze ; 
Like  the  fleeting  years  and  days, 
Like  all  things  that  soon  decay 
Pass  the  eai'ly  scenes  away. " 

[We  are  under  many  obligations  to  S.  D.  Mowery,  Esq.,  for  the 
interesting  chapter  on  Doubling  Gap.  On  August  13th  myself  and 
family  visited  the  famous  summer  resort,  and  also  climbed  the 
mountain  to  the  historic  Lewis'  Cave.  To  say  that  we  were  de- 
lighted, weakly  expresses  our  emotion  ;  we  were  infatuated  with  the 
grand  scenery  and  magnificent  surroundings.  Through  the  gener- 
osity of  the  owners  of  this  resort.  Col.  Daniel  V.  Ahl  and  P.  A. 
Ahl,  Esq.,  we  were  recommended  to  the  courtesy  of  our  host,  Mr. 
G.  T.  Mclutire,  the  proprietor,  who,  with  his  genial  clerk,  Mr.  P. 
B.  Holler,  and  their  estimable  wives,  entertained  us  in  a  right  ro3^al 
manner.     Thanks,  a  genuine  historic  thanks. — Ed.] 


22  LIFE   AND    ADVENTURES   OF   DAVID   LEWIS, 


CHAPTER  III. 


Exploits  and  Incidents  of  Lewis  -which  have  Got  into  Print  as  Reliable — 
Evidences  of  his  Magnanimity  and  Bravery — His  Coolness  when  in  Peril. 


THE  following  is  contained  in  the  pamphlet  of  1853,  and  fur- 
nishes interesting  reading : 

In  the  following  incidents  some  of  the  traits  of  character  which 
gave  Lewis  his  "  good  name  "  are  displayed ;  and  in  justice  to  those 
who  have  spoken  in  his  praise,  they  should  be  related,  as  there  is 
not  much  in  his  confession  to  sanction  their  applause. 

An  old  gentleman  of  Cumberland,  Maryland,  named  Black,  some 
years  since  related  to  the  writer  of  this  an  adventure  which  he, 
from  his  own  account,  had  with  Lewis  in  the  Allegheny  Mountains. 
According  to  his  story,  he  had  crossed  the  mountains  from  Cum- 
berland to  (I  think)  Brownsville  on  horseback,  for  money.  He 
rode  a  black  horse,  a  fast  runner,  and  while  at  Brownsville  was 
bantered  for  a  race.  This  was  accepted,  and  the  wager  was  one 
horse  for  the  other.  "  Blackey,"  as  he  called  him,  won  ;  and  after 
Mr.  B.  received  the  mone}'  which  was  the  object  of  his  visit,  he  left 
the  place  with  his  prize,  and  staid  that  night  at  a  friend's  about  six 
miles  distant  on  his  road  home.  In  the  morning  his  friend  gave  him 
a  flask  of  excellent  peach  brandy  which  he  pocketed,  and  then 
started  for  the  mountains,  riding  the  horse  he  had  won,  with 
"  Blackey  "  trotting  after  him.  When  he  got  into  a  lonely  ravine, 
deeply  shaded,  a  man  sprang  from  over  a  high  bank  and  in  one  or 
two  bounds  was  on  Blackej^'s  back.  The  stranger  immediately  rode 
up  along  side,  when  Mr.  B.  distinctly  perceived  the  outlines  of  a 
pistol  in  each  pocket  of  his  pantaloons.  As  might  be  supposed  our 
informant  felt  something  creeping  over  him  like  fear,  but  he  at- 
tempted to  conceal  it.  The  stranger,  riding  peaceably  along,  com- 
menced a  conversation  by  remarking  that  "  he  had  seen  '  Blackey's  ' 
performance  the  day  before,  in  the  race,  and  was  anxious  to  buy 
him."  Mr.  B.  remarked  that  he  did  not  wish  to  sell  the  horse,  as 
he  had  owned  him  for  some  time  and  would  be  sorry  to  part  with 
him.     His  companion  still  appeared  anxious  to  make  the  purchase. 


THE  ROBBER  ANP  COUNTERFEITER.  23 

and  Mr.  B.  having  strong  suspicions  of  his  customer's  real  character, 
excited  by  the  pistols  and  his  unceremonious  introduction,  wished 
to  get  on  the  best  possible  terms  with  him.  He  therefore  stopped 
at  a  spring  on  the  road,  and  invited  his  companion  to  take  some  of 
the  brandy.  Several  drinks  were  taken,  he  drinking  cautiously, 
and  his  companion  quite  freely,  from  the  mouth  of  the  flask.  They 
again  mounted ^and  traveled  without  anything  unusual  happening, 
refreshing  themselves  several  times  from  the  flask.  By  and  b}"  they 
came  to  another  spring,  his  companion  bj'  this  time  feeling  sensibly 
the  exhilarating  effects  of  the  brandy,  and  evidently  in  a  very 
good  humor.  The  conversation  turned  somehow  on  the  loneliness 
of  the  mountains,  the  danger  of  robbers,  &c.,  when  his  companion 
swore  that  he  was  not  afraid  of  such  characters,  and  pulled  out  his 
pistols  to  show  that  he  was  armed.  He  then  asked  Mr.  B.  if  he  had 
ever  heard  of  Lewis,  about  whom  there  was  so  much  excitement, 
and  for  whose  apprehension  there  were  a  number  of  rewards  offered. 
Mr.  B.,  putting  the  best  face  on  the  matter  he  could,  replied  that  he 
had  not,  and  with  a  terrible  stretch  of  conscience,  said  he  would  like 
to  see  him ;  that  he  had  heard  a  great  deal  about  him  and  about  his 
braver}-  and  magnanimity,  etc.  "  Would  j-ou  like  to  meet  him  in  the 
mountains?"  asked  his  companion.  "  No,"  said  Mr.  B.,"  I  don't 
know  that  I  would  fancy  that,  but  if  I  should,  I  do  not  think  I  would 
stand  in  any  danger  of  my  life."  '•  You  would  reall}-  like  to  see 
him  then  ?  "  again  asked  his  companion,  bj^  this  time  pretty  well 
intoxicated.  "  Yes,"  said  Mr.  B.,  quaking  with  fear,  "  I  would." 
"  Well,  sir,"  replied  the  stranger,  jumping  to  his  feet,  and  bracing 
himself  into  an  erect  posture,  "  here  is  Lewis — I  am  the  man !  " 

"  After  getting  over  my  affected  surprise,  and  after  some  further 
conversation,"  said  Mr.  B.,  "  he  declared  that  he  had  met  me  with 
the  intention  of  taking  my  mone}' ;  that  he  knew  how  much  I  had, 
and  where  I  got  it ;  but  that  I  had  treated  him  like  a  gentleman, 
and  he  would  not  for  the  world  harm  a  hair  of  my  head,  or  take  a 
cent  from  my  pocket."  Shortly  after  Mr.  B.  left  without  interrup- 
tion, and  the  last  he  saw  of  Lewis,  as  he  turned  a  bend  in  the  road, 
he  was  still  standing  at  the  spring.  Mr.  B.  remarked  that  he  went 
along  at  a  careless  and  moderate  pace  until  he  got  entirely  out  of 
sight  of  the  robber,  but  immediatel}-  after,  the  spirit  and  the  flesh 
both  moved  him  to  go  as  rapidl}^  as  the  horses  could  travel. 

I  have  told  the  story  as  "  'twas  told  to  me,"  and  all  I  can  say 
about  it  is,  that  the  gentleman  who  related  it  bore  a  highly  re- 
spectable character  in  Cumberland.  What  has  become  of  him  since, 
I  know  not. 


24  LIFE   AND   ADVENTURES   OF   DAVID   LEWIS, 

Another  incident  related  of  Lewis  (but  whether  from  a  very  au- 
thentic source  or  not,  I  cannot  say),  is,  that ''  the  hue  and  cry  "  was 
once  raised  against  him  in  Adams  county,  and  a  party  of  gentlemen 
started  in  pursuit,  not  one  of  whom  knew  him.  In  their  excursion 
they  suddenly  came  up  with  a  well  dressed  man  on  horseback, 
whom  they  accosted,  and  asked  if  he  had  "  seen  or  heard  anything 
of  Lewis,  the  robber."  He  replied  that  he  had  not ;  asked  what 
kind  of  a  looking  man  he  was,  and  finding  that  they  could  not  even 
describe  him  with  anything  like  accuracy,  made  a  number  of  other 
inquiries  about  him,  and  agreed  to  assist  "  in  hunting  down,"  as 
he  said,  "  such  an  outlaw."  After  riding  with  the  party  for  some 
time,  inquiring  their  names,  places  of  residence,  etc.,  and  the  search 
proving  fruitless,  he  left  them  and  took  another  direction.  The 
stranger  had  the  audacity  afterwards  to  send  them  word  "  that  they 
had  been  riding  for  several  hours  in  the  company  of  Lewis,  and  he 
was  anxious  to  know  whether  they  found  his  company  agreeable." 

On  one  occasion,  of  the  truth  of  which  I  have  been  told  there  is 
no  doubt,  he  was  riding  down  the  Walnut  Bottom  road  in  company 
with  a  gentleman,  and  actuall}'  stopped  him  in  sight  of  Centreville, 
and  very  politely  made  him  deliver  up  his  money.  He  then  took 
to  the  mountains  and  made  his  escape. 

The  following  incident  is  said  to  have  happened  in  Mifflin  county  : 
Having  failed  of  carr^  ing  into  execution  some  of  his  deeply  laid 
schemes  for  robbing  several  wealthy  farmers  during  one  of  his 
maurauding  expeditions,  and  his  finances  getting  uncomfortably 
low,  he  determined  on  making  an  effort  to  replenish  at  the  first 
opportunity.  Coming  across  a  house  that  promised  security  from 
molestation,  no  other  being  near,  he  called  at  the  door,  and  was 
admitted  by  an  elderlj^  female,  of  respectable  appearance.  Lewis, 
to  ascertain  where  her  money  was  kept,  asked  her  to  change  a  five 
dollar  note.  "  That  unfortunately  I  am  unable  to  do,"  replied  the 
woman,  "  for  I  have  not  a  dollar  in  the  house;  and,  what  is  worse," 
she  added  despondingly,  as  she  caught  a  glimpse  of  a  man  coming 
through  the  woods  some  distance  from  the  house,  "  there  comes  the 
constable  to  take  my  cow  for  the  last  half-year's  rent.  I  don't  know 
what  to  do  without  her."  "How  much  is  due?"  inquired  Lewis, 
hurriedly.  "  Twenty  dollars,  sir."  "  Have  you  no  one  to  help 
you  ?  "  "  No  one,"  she  replied.  "  Then  I  will,"  replied  the  robber 
as  he  drew  from  his  pocket  the  exact  sum,  and  threw  it  upon  the 
table.  "  Pay  that  fellow  his  demand,  and  take  his  receipt,  but  don't 
say  an^'thing  about  me."     Lewis  had  just  time  to  make  good  his 


THE  ROBBER  AND  COUNTERFEITER.  25 

escape  unobserved,  when  the  worthy  official  arrived.  He  was  pro- 
ceeding without  more  ado  to  drive  away  the  cow,  when  the  woman 
came  forward,  paid  him  the  mone}'  and  took  his  receipt.  He  im- 
mediately set  out  on  his  return,  but  had  not  proceeded  far,  when 
Lewis  bounded  into  the  road  and  accosted  him  with,  "  How  d'ye 
do,  stranger?  Got  any  spare  change  about  you?"  "No!"  sim- 
pered the  frightened  constable.  "  Come,  shell  out  old  fellow  or  I'll 
save  3-ou  the  trouble,"  returned  Lewis  as  he  presented  a  pistol  at 
him.  This  argument  convinced  the  constable  that  the  fellow  was 
up  to  his  business,  and  he  handed  over  his  money  as  quickly  as 
possible.  Lewis  got  his  own  twenty  dollars  back,  and  forty  dollars 
in  addition.  He  often  boasted  that  the  loan  of  the  twenty  dollars 
was  one  of  the  best  investments  he  had  ever  made. 

On  one  occasion,  he  is  said  to  have  stopped  a  traveler  on  the 
mountains,  who  was  on  his  wa}'  from  Pittsburg  to  Philadelphia. 
After  he  had  robbed  him,  Lewis  recognized  in  him  a  gentleman 
who  had  done  him  some  signal  service  when  in  trouble.  He  imme- 
diateh'  restored  him  his  mone}^  and  sent  him  on  his  way  rejoicing. 
Connelly,  who  was  with  him  at  the  time,  complained  of  this,  but 
was  immediately  silenced  by  a  scowl  from  Lewis,  who  held  a  pistol 
in  his  hand. 

Such  are  a  few  of  the  stories  that  have  given  the  robber  a  char- 
acter above  ordinar}^  felons.  Connelly,  who  was  often  with  him, 
was  a  desperate  and  blood-thirst)''  villain,  who  was  everywhere  held 
in  detestation.  Fortunately  he  was  under  the  controlling  influence 
of  Lewis,  who  held  his  brutal  desperation  in  check. 

Doubling  Gap,  in  Cumbei'land  county,  although  the  principal, 
was  not  the  onl}-  lurking  place  of  this  celebrated  highwayman.  He 
had  also  "  a  den  "  on  the  other  side  of  the  valley,  in  the  heart  of  the 
mountains,  about  three  miles  above  Pine  Grove. 

This  book  is  republished,  with  its  manifest  faults,  as  there  is  no 
other  account  of  his  exploits,  that  we  know  of.  It  will  no  doubt 
appear  singular  to  the  reader,  as  he  goes  along,  that  he  is  receiving 
lessons  of  sound  moralit}^  from  the  greatest  outlaw  that  has  prob- 
abl}^  ever  infested  the  mountains. 

The  following  is  taken  from  the  Harrisburg  Telegram.  The 
writer,  however,  is  mistaken  in  the  place  of  where  Lewis  died ;  it 
was  in  Bellefonte  and  not  Lock  Haven. 

The  cave  referred  to,  near  Carlisle,  is  minutely  described  in  the 
historic  sketch  of  Carlisle,  in  Chapter  II. 

The  recent  death  of  John  H.  Shoenberger,  of  Pittsburg,  suggests 


26  LIFE   AND   ADVENTURES   OP   DAVID   LEWIS, 

many  interesting  reminiscences  of  the  Shoenberger  famil}-,  who 
were  among  the  first  pioneers  of  the  old  Ke^^stone  State,  and  stood 
at  the  head  of  some  of  the  most  flourishing  iron  ^industries.  In 
1808  George  Shoenberger,  a  native  of  Lancaster  county,  began  the 
manufacture  of  iron  at  the  Huntingdon  furnace,  in  Franklin  town- 
ship, Huntingdon  county.  Previous  to  this  he  was  associated  with 
Samuel  Fahnestock  in  the  Juniata  Forge  works  in  1804.  In  1815 
his  son.  Dr.  Peter  Shoenberger,  succeeded  him  in  the  business.  The 
history  of  his  difliculties  is  really  the  history  of  the  working  of  iron 
in  Middle  Pennsylvania. 

One  remarkable  instance  of  good  fortune  in  his  life  will  bear  nar- 
rating. In  1818  a  band  of  brigands  infested  Pennsylvania,  operat- 
ing in  all  parts  of  the  State.  One  of  the  most  daring  bands  was 
commanded  by  a  desperado  known  as  Robber  Lewis.  He  was  a 
daring  fellow,  but  was  never  known  to  shed  blood,  although  his  fol- 
lowers— Connelly  and  McGuire — were  ready  at  any  time  to  take 
life. 

Dr.  Shoenberger  had  been  sending  iron  in  bars  to  Harper's  Ferry 
and  was  soon  to  cross  the  mountain  to  get  his  pay.  This  became 
known  to  Lewis  and  his  men,  who  determined  to  wajday  and  rob 
the  doctor.  The  sum  to  be  collected  amounted  to  about  $13,000,  a 
very  important  item.  Unless  he  could  bring  it  safely  to  Bellefonte 
by  a  certain  time  his  paper  must  go  to  protest  and  his  credit  be  for- 
ever ruined. 

Lewis  and  his  followers  expected  the  doctor  to  come  from  Har- 
per's Ferry  to  Baltimore,  and  thence  by  way  of  the  old  post  road — 
now  the  Baltimore  pike — to  Pittsburg.  To  make  sure,  he  and  his 
coadjutors  rede  to  Philadelphia  and  stopped  in  the  most  lawless 
portion  of  the  city.  Here  Lewis  and  his  followers  met  Ann  Carson, 
a  prominent  character,  and  her  associates  and  assembled  to  plan  the 
robbery  of  Shoenberger.  Their  first  plan  was  to  meet  the  doctor 
near  Havre  de  Grace.  While  they  were  debating  in  their  rendez- 
vous news  came  that  their  victim  had  abandoned  the  lower  route 
and  would  return  home  by  way  of  the  Cumberland  Yalley  and  Har- 
risburg.  The  party  took  to  their  horses  just  in  time  to  escape  a 
raid  made  on  their  quarter  by  John  Hart,  then  High  Constable  of 
Philadelphia. 

When  Lewis  and  his  associates  had  reached  Harrisburg,  they 
learned  that  the  doctor  had  been  warned  of  his  danger,  and  again 
changed  his  route.  The  highwaymen  knew  the  country  well,  and 
succeed  in  getting  in  advance  of  their  intended  prey.     In  the  early 


THE  ROBBER  AND  COUNTERFEITER.  27 

moruiug,  east  of  Bellefonte,the  doctor  found  himself  confronted  by 
a  large  man  on  horseback,  who,  with  pistol  in  hand,  called  on  him 
to  "  stand  and  deliver." 

Shoenberger's  feelings  may  be  imagined.  Financial  ruin  or  being 
shot  was  the  alternative  presented  to  him.  He  reached  around  in-his 
saddle  to  unstrap  his  saddle-bags,  which  contained  the  monej^,  when 
he  heard  a  shout,  and  saw  the  white  covers  of  a  Conestoga 
wagon  topping  the  hill.  The  wagoners  were  encouraging  their 
horses,  and  in  desperation  the  doctor  yelled  out,  "  Men,  I  am  being 
robbed  !  help !  help  I  •" 

Lewis  pulled  the  trigger,  but  fortunately  the  old  flint  only  snap- 
ped. Connelly  rode  up  and,  but  for  Lewis,  would  have  killed  the 
doctor,  A  rifle  ball  from  one  of  the  wagoners  struck  him  in  the 
shoulder,  and  under  the  fire  of  the  wagoners  he  and  Lewis  escaped 
to  the  woods.     The  doctor  was  saved. 

Long  before  this  adventure  of  Doctor  Shoenberger's,  the  old 
Keystone  State  was  in  a  turmoil  over  the  depredations  committed 
by  bands  of  brigands,  who  were  guilty  of  the  most  heinous  crimes. 
The  inhabitants  were  in  constant  dread  of  the  attacks  of  highway- 
men. One  of  the  most  thoroughly  organized  of  these  was  headed 
b}^  Robber  Lewis.  It  seems  Robber  Lewis  did  not  deserve  all  the 
condemnatory'  reports  in  circulation  about  him.  Many  instances  of 
kindness  and  a  disposition  to  help  the  needy  and  distressed,  by  con- 
tributing to  their  wants,  characterized  his  career.  For  these  acts 
he  never  received  any  credit  at  the  hands  of  his  persecutors. 

In  the  month  of  October,  1815,  a  German  named  Jacob  Simmons 
was  crossing  the  mountains  from  Bellefonte  to  Lock  Haven,  desir- 
ing to  get  on  the  direct  road  to  Harrisburg.  In  those  days  travel 
was  either  on  foot  or  by  vehicles.  Simmons  was  aware  of  the  bri- 
gands that  infested  the  country,  yet  he  ventured  to  travel  this 
mountainous  region  alone.  He  had  hoarded  up  a  few  hundred  dol- 
lars, and  was  going  to  Harrisburg  to  meet  a  brother  who  had  just 
lauded  in  this  country,  and  both  intended  to  travel  westward  to 
better  their  condition. 

Little  did  he  think  he  would  soon  have  the  supreme  pleasure  of 
stopping  with  Robber  Lewis  and  his  colleagues.  If  he  did  he 
would  not  have  taken  his  dangerous  journey.  He  had  accomplished 
scarcely  half  of  the  trip,  when  the  sun  began  to  sink  out  of  sight. 
He  had  heard  of  the  many  depredations  and  robberies  committed 
by  Robber  Lewis  and  his  daring  companions,  who  were  at  that  time 
invading  the  country  around  about.     Simmons  began  to  feel  uneasy. 


28  LIFE   AND   ADVENTURES   OF   DAVID   LEWIS, 

He  felt  for  the  leather  belt  around  his  waist  and,  satisfied  that  his 
money  was  safe,  continued  his  lonesome  journey.  The  gloom  con- 
vinced him  that  midnight  darkness  would  soon  overtake  him,  and 
he  had  yet  a  dozen  miles  or  more  to  travel.  The  German  became 
almost  paralj-zed  with  fear.  Everj^  sound  he  heard  presented  a  horri- 
fj'ing  picture  of  highwaymen  jumping  out  from  behind  some  tree 
or  rock  and  demanding  his  mone3\  He  resolved  to  look  for  shel- 
ter and  ask  for  a  night's  lodging  at  the  first  house  he  would  reach. 
He  had  traveled  only  a  few  hundred  j-ards  farther,  when  he  discov- 
ered a  cabin  in  the  wood  by  the  side  of  the  road.  Upon  investiga- 
tion he  found  it  to  be  occupied,  and  knocked  on  the  rude  door.  It 
was  opened  by  a  man  of  fine  personal  appearance,  who  invited  him 
in.  In  one  corner  of  the  cabin  was  a  rude  hearth,  built  of  stone, 
upon  which  blazed  a  glowing  fire.  The  cheerfulness  of  the  interior 
acted  like  a  magic  charm  on  him.  and  served  to  dispel  all  his  fear. 
Robber  Lewis  and  his  fearless  band  could  now  attack  their  victims. 
Simmons  was  all  right ;  at  least  he  thought  so. 

Sitting  beside  the  blazing  fire,  which  lit  up  the  room,  the  German 
felt  safe  enough.  This  was  one  of  Robber  Lewis'  stopping  places. 
Besides  himself  there  were  three  of  his  companions  in  the  cabin. 
They  were  all  sitting  around  the  fire  enjoying  a  smoke  with  their 
pipes,  and  Simmons  was  cordially  invited  to  join  them. 

The  German  unfolded  himself  and  related  his  whole  story  to  them, 
where  he  had  been  working,  how  much  money  he  had,  and  whither 
he  was  going;  that  night  had  overtaken  him,  and  he  was  afraid  of 
being  robbed  by  highwaj'men,  and  that  he  concluded  not  to  go  any 
farther,  and  run  the  risk  of  losing  his  money.  They  listened  with 
interest  to  his  narrative  and  assured  him  that  he  was  perfectly  wel- 
come, and  that  no  harm  would  befall  him  while  under  their  protec- 
tion, for  which  Jacob  thanked  them  very  much. 

During  the  evening  the  conversation  drifted  to  various  subjects 
and  the  stories  circulated  b}-  the  inhabitants  of  the  surrounding 
countr}',  the  German  very  often  mentioning  the  name  of  Robber 
Lewis  and  his  desperate  followers.  He  referred  to  the  robberies  com- 
mitted b}^  the  lawless  bandits,  who  were  a  terror  to  that  section  of 
the  State,  where  thej^  made  their  power  felt.  The  remarks  of  the 
German  caused  more  than  one  smile  to  light  up  the  countenances 
of  the  robbers  during  the  evening.  Before  the  coterie  retired  Sim- 
mons was  given  a  bounteous  supper  hy  his  host,  and  all  sought  rest, 
the  German  feeling  grateful  for  their  taking  him  in  and  protecting 
him  from  the  dangers  that  threatened  him  should  behave  continued 
his  journey  that  night. 


THE  ROBBER  AND  COUNTERFEITER.  29 

"When  morning  dawned  the  German  descended  a  rude  ladder  to 
the  room  below.  To  his  amazement  he  beheld  a  table  loaded  down 
with  man}'  of  the  luxuries  of  life.  How  fortunate  he  was !  lie 
was  invited  to  make  a  hearty  breakfast,  as  he  had  many  hours 
of  travel  before  him.  After  he  had  completed  his  meal  and  re- 
gained his  lost  vitalit}',  he  started  on  his  journey.  Before  taking 
his  leave,  he  asked  what  he  owed.  "  Nothing,  sir,"  was  the  reply, 
"  but  you  can  inform  3'our  friends  that  you  stopped  with  Robber 
Lewis  and  his  colleagues !  " 

After  Simmons  had  been  informed  by  the  robber  chieftain  that  he 
could  go  on  his  way  rejoicing,  without  an}-  fear  of  being  robbed,  he 
could  hardly  express  his  feelings  of  gratitude  for  the  kindness  re- 
ceived at  the  hands  of  his  benefactor,  who  had  been  painted  in  his 
mind  as  a  murderer  and  a  destroyer  of  innocent  life.  He  was  much 
surprised  to  find  a  different  man  than  had  been  represented  to  him. 

Robber  Lewis  had  many  good  traits,  and  was  never  known  to 
have  shed  blood,  or  to  have  taken  a  human  life.  He  invariably 
stole  from  those  who  could  afford  it  and  gave  to  the  poor.  His  acts 
of  charity  will  always  be  commemorable  to  those  who  remember 
him.  This  little  instance  of  Jacob  Simmons'  is,  no  doubt,  remem- 
bered by  many  of  the  residents  of  Pennsylvania. 

Lewis  and  his  band  of  outlaws  were  familiar  with  every  hiding- 
place  in  the  State.  There  is  an  old  one-story  log  house  in  Carlisle, 
Cumberland  county,  which  he  and  his  fearless  band  frequently  oc- 
cupied, and  laid  plans  for  all  kinds  of  outlawry.  The  house  is 
standing  to-day  on  South  Hanover  street,  occupied  b}'  James  Mc- 
Gonigal  as  a  tin  shop. 

At  different  times  Lewis  and  his  men  were  forced  by  the  authori- 
ties of  Cumberland  valley  to  vacate  the  old  log  house.  On  these 
occasions  they  would  retreat  to  a  cave  about  a  mile  from  Carlisle, 
on  Conodoguinet  creek.  Here  they  were  safe,  as  no  one  had  the 
courage  to  venture  far  enough  into  its  recesses  to  reach  them.  This 
retreat  of  the  bandits  was  guarded  on  more  than  one  occasion,  but 
the  robbers  alwa^-s  made  their  escape.  It  i^  believed  there  Was  a 
secret  outlet,  known  to  no  one  but  these  outlaws,  but  it  has  never 
been  discovered.  Here  it  is  supposed  Lewis  and  his  band  stored  a 
part  of  their  plunder.  The  cave  has  been  entered  time  and  again  by 
fortune-hunters,  but  it  contains  so  many  passages  that  the  explor- 
ers never  met  with  success  and  alwaj'S  went  away  disappointed. 

Another  retreat  for  these  outlaws  is  a  cave  on  Little  Chickies 
creek,  about  a  mile  and  a  half  north  of  Mt.  Joy,  Lancaster  county. 


30  LIFE   AND   ADVENTURES   OF   DAVID   LEWIS, 

This  cave  has  a  subterranean  entrance  which,  at  the  time  of  these 
outlaws,  was  never  known  to  anyone  else  except  Robber  Lewis  and 
his  band.  It  was  frequently  made  use  of  by  him,  and  it  was  al- 
ways a  mystery  to  the  officers  of  the  law  how  he  made  his  escape 
from  it,  A  large  rock  overhung  the  creek,  and  the  entrance  was 
discovered  only  through  accident.  The  boys  of  the  village  were  in 
the  habit  of  going  in  bathing  at  this  point.  On  one  of  these  occa- 
sions a  youth  about  fifteen  jj^ears  of  age  dived  down  under  this 
shelving  rock  and  came  up  in  the  cave.  He  had  been  missed  by  his 
companions  for  some  time  and  they,  thinking  he  was  drowned, 
started  off  to  sound  the  alarm.  To  their  utter  consternation  he  ap- 
peared on  the  bluff  of  the  hill.  He  had  wandered  about  in  the  cave 
until  he  found  the  principal  entrance,  and  from  that  time  on  this 
same  feat  has  been  repeated  over  and  over  by  many  of  the  coura- 
geous youths  of  the  viHage.  Thus  a  mj'stery  has  been  solved  by 
accident  that  long  baffled  the  authorities,  but  not  until  it  was  too 
late. 

Lewis  was  smart  as  a  steel  trap  and  was  considered  one  of  the 
shrewdest  of  mountaineers.  Many  of  the  robberies  which  he  plan- 
ned were  carried  out  with  the  assistance  of  his  associates.  Like  all 
men  of  his  kind,  he  met  his  fate  at  last.  Shortly  after  Lewis  and 
Connelly  had  been  outwitted  in  their  attempt  to  rob  Dr.  Shoen- 
berger,  a  posse  was  organized  and  started  in  pursuit  of  the  outlaws. 
After  a  hot  chase  of  two  days,  they  surprised  them  at  Driftwood, 
Pa.,  when  a  lively  skirmish  took  place.  Connelly  was  mortail}'' 
wounded,  and  Lewis  was  made  a  prisoner.  He  was  taken  to  the 
Lock  Haven  jail,  where  he  died  from  a  wound  received  in  the  arm. 
Thus  ended  the  career  of  a  desperate  band  of  outlaws. 

The  following  was  written  by  H.  T.  McAlister  for  the  Harrisburg 
Telegraph : 

McAlisterville,  Oct.  25. — Editors  or  Telegraph — Gentlemen  : 
My  son  Stephen  has  taken  your  paper  for  some  time  past.  I  am 
an  old  man  of  81  years  and  read  it.  I  like  its  political  senti- 
ments. I  find  on  an  inside  sheet  a  sketch  of  the  robbers  Lewis 
and  Connelly,  and  I  think  that  there  was  a  third  man,  but  can't 
name  him.  This  robbery  occurred  in  the  year  1817  or  1818,  I  am 
not  sure ;  but  they  came  across  a  drover  returning  westward  on 
horseback  from  the  city,  for  that  was  the  usual  way  of  traveling 
in  those  days.  This  occurred  at  a  place  called  Sideling  Hill.  The 
robbers  made  him  dismount.  They  led  him  and  his  horse  from  the 
road  into  the  woods,  tied  him  to  a  tree,  took  the  saddle  bags,  and 


THE  ROBBER  AND  COUNTERFEITER.  31 

said  to  him  they  would  go  a  certain  space  away  and  watch  him, 
and  if  he  offered  to  get  awa}'^  for  a  certain  time  they  would  shoot 
him,  but  the  drover,  whose  name  I  have  forgotten,  did  get  loose 
and  took  another  course  and  got  to  a  house  and  gave  notice,  and 
soon  the  surrounding  country  was  up  in  arms.  The  robbers  made 
for  the  Juniata  river  and,  hastening  their  steps,  got  to  Lewistown 
between  sundown  and  dark.  When  near  Lewistown  the}'  left  the 
road  and  walked  at  the  edge  of  the  river.  It  was  nearly  dark  but 
they  were  seen,  and  in  a  couple  of  hours  or  later  after  word  came 
to  Lewistown  of  the  robbery  (at  this  time  Juniata  was  Mifflin 
county  not  yet  divided),  Samuel  Edmiston,  who  was  the  sheriff 
and  a  brave,  fearless  man,  gathered  a  posse  of  twenty-five  or  thirty 
men.  A  hotel  about  one  and  a  half  or  two  miles  below  town  was 
kept  b}^  a  man  named  Bumbaugh.  It  was  supposed  these  men 
were  the  robbers,  and  that  the}'  would  want  supper  and  perhaps 
lodging.  Sheriff  Edmiston  became  captain,  and  every  man  had  to 
obey,  which  they  did  very  willingly.  They  went  so  near  and  halted, 
and  one  man  was  directed  to  go  in  carelessly  and  call  for  a  drink, 
and  if  possible,  without  creating  suspicion,  should  learn  if  the 
strangers  were  there.  He  came  out  and  reported  to  the  sheriff. 
They  had  got  their  suppers  and  gone  to  bed.  Edmiston  signaled 
for  all  to  close  in,  surround  the  house  and  let  no  man  pass.  The 
sheriff  chose  some  half  a  dozen  brave  men  and  slipped  up  stairs  and 
found  the  robbers  all  sleeping.  "When  Lewis  awakened  he  imme- 
diately reached  for  a  weapon,  but  Edmiston,  wide-awake,  grasped 
him  b}'  the  throat  and  compelled  him  to  submit.  They  were  taken 
to  Lewistown  jail.  Lewis  said  it  would  not  hold  him  long.  The 
sheriff  handcuffed  him,  yet  slyly  he  slipped  the  cuffs  and  loosed  the 
others,  broke  jail  and  escaped.  A  reward  was  offered.  The  rob- 
bers got  away  out  to  Clearfield  county,  and  in  a  clearing  one  day 
were  shooting  at  a  mark.  The  people  everywhere  were  on  the 
lookout  for  them,  and  suspecting  it  was  them,  armed  themselves 
and  came  upon  them,  but  the  robbers  resolved  to  fight,  which  they 
did  till  one  of  them  was  badl}'  wounded.  They  then  surrendered 
and  were  disarmed  and  imprisoned  in  another  count}',  and  I  then 
loat  all  knowledge  of  them  after  that.     His  name  was  David  Lewis. 

Our  young  friend  Geo.  P.  Landis,  of  Bedford,  Pa.,  furnished  us 
with  the  following  : 

Dear  Sir:  In  reply  to  your  letter  of  recent  date,  I  submit  the 
following  items  regarding  Lewis,  the  robber.  I  received  much  in- 
formation from  Mr.  Valentine  Yondersmith,an  aged  resident  of  this 


32  LIFE    AND    ADVENTURES   OF    DAVID   LEWIS, 

place,  and  a  man  well  versed  in  the  traditionary  lore  of  Bedford 
county.  I  have  read  Judge  W.  M.  Hall's  article  on  Lewis  and 
when  I  give  dates  they  are  from  that  article.  He  can  be  depended 
on  for  matters  relating  to  Bedford  couiaty  Court.  The  following  is 
an_ abridgement  of  records  of  Court  quoted  by  Judge  Hall : 

Lewis'  first  appearance  in  Bedford  county  was  in  1815,  in  the  fall 
of  which  year  he  was  arrested  for  passing  counterfeit  coin  and  bank 
notes.  The  case  came  up  at  January  Court,  but  was  continued 
until  February  13,  when  he  was  found  guilty.  His  lawyers  were 
Geo.  Burd,  Esq.,  and  Chas.  Huston,  Esq.,  afterward  president  judge 
of  this  county  and  judge  of  the  Supreme  Court  of  Pennsylvania. 
The  latter  filed  a  motion  in  arrest  of  judgment  on  February  20. 
February  22,  Lewis  was  sentenced  to  pay  a  fine  of  $1  and  be  im- 
prisoned in  jail  for  ten  hours.  At  this  same  term  (February,  1816) 
of  Court  there  were  four  indictments  against  him  for  passing  coun- 
terfeit bank  notes,  on  one  of  which  he  was  found  not  guilty,  but  to 
pay  the  costs  ;  on  two  of  which  nolle  prosequi  were  entered,  and  on 
the  other  indictment  Lewis  was  found  guilty  as  to  three  counts  and 
not  guilty  as  to  fourth.  This  was  February  17.  Lewis  was  sen- 
tenced on  this  indictment  to  six  months  in  the  penitentiar}^  at  Phil- 
adelphia. A  writ  of  error  to  Supreme  Court  was  filed,  but  Septem- 
ber 4,  1816,  the  sentence  of  the  lower  Court  was  affirmed.  In  the 
meantime  David  Lewis  had  escaped  from  the  Bedford  jail,  how,  is 
not  known. 

Mr.  y.  Yondersmith  tells  me  that  in  1819,  near  Mcllvane's, 
eighteen  miles  east  of  Bedford,  on  the  Chambersburg  and  Pittsburg 
turnpike,  Lewis,  Connelly  and  Hanson  stopped  and  robbed  a  mer- 
chant named  McClelland,  of  Pittsburg,  wiio  was  on  his  way  from 
that  city  with,  it  was  stated,  $1,800,  to  deposit  in  Philadelphia. 
Connelly  wanted  to  kill  McClelland,  saying,  "  dead  men  tell  no 
tales,"  but  Lewis,  who  was  the  acknowledged  leader  of  the  gang, 
said  he  would  not  shed  blood.  He  then  gave  McClelland  a  few  dol- 
lars and  sent  him  on  his  way.  For  this  robbery  Lewis,  Connelly 
and  Hanson  were  arrested  and  thrown  into  Bedford  jail. 

This  from  Judge  Hall,  being  a  cop3^  of  court  record. 

"  In  the  Court  of  Oyer  and  Terminer  of  Bedford  county,  Penn- 
sylvania, before  the  Honorable  Chas  Huston,  President  Judge,  and 
Abraham  Martin,  Associate  Judge." 


THE   ROBBER   AND   COUNTERFEITER.  33 

The  Commonwealth  of  Pennsylvania      1   No.  3. 
vs. 


January  Term,  1820. 


David  Lewis,  John  M.  Connelly  and  James 
Hanson. 


"Indictment  for  robbery.  A  true  bill  January  7,  1820.  James 
Hanson  being  arraigned  pleads  not  guilty.  Jury  called,  etc.,  who 
find  defendant  guilty.  Sentence  7  years  in  the  penitentiary  in 
Philadelphia.  April  24,  1820,  process  awarded  to  Cumberland 
county  for  the  arrest  of  David  Lewis  and  John  M.  Connelly,  re- 
turned non  sunt  inventV^ 

Commonwealth  op  Pennsylvania  ]   No.  5. 


vs.  1  January  Term,  1820. 


David  Lewis,  John  M.  Connelly,  James 
Hanson,  Thomas  Williams,  John  Mc- 
Curdy  and  Ethelstone  Scott. 


"  Indictment  for  breaking  jail ;  Lewis  and  Connelly  not  taken. 
The  other  defendants  convicted  and  sentenced." 

It  is  certain  then,  as  Mr.  Voudersmith  says,  that  they  broke  jail. 
His  story  is  as  follows: 

"  One  morning,  shortly  after  their  arrest,  the  jailer,  Eli  Eichert, 
entered  Lewis'  cell,  leaving  the  key  in  the  door.  While  the  jailer 
was  busy  Lewis  slipped  out,  locked  him  in  the  cell,  opened  the 
doors  for  the  other  prisoners  and  all  got  out  except  one,  who  re- 
fused to  leave.  Lewis  and  Connelly  made  their  waj^  out  of  the 
county  and  were  never  in  it  again.  Hanson  and  the  others  named 
in  the  indictment  were  captured. 

"  The  two  robbers  made  their  way  into  Cumberland  county  b}' 
Doubling  Gap,  and  after  spending  a  few  da3^s  in  that  county  and 
afterwards  in  York  and  Adams  they  returned  to  Cumberland 
county  and  tried  to  rob  the  house  of  Mr.  Besoreat  Bridgeport,  near 
the  camel-back  bridge.  Lewis  was  arrested  but  Connelly  got  away. 
This  was  in  April,  1820.  Lewis  was  lodged  in  Carlisle  jail  and,  as  in 
indictment  given  above,  process  for  arrest  was  awarded  to  Cumber- 
land county  without  avail.  From  Carlisle  Lewis  was  transferred 
to  Chambersburg,  the  jail  there  being  a  stronger  one;  this  jail  was 
broken. 


34  LIFE   AND   ADVENTURES  OF   DAVID   LEWIS, 


CHAPTER  IV. 


Birtli  and  Parentage — Enlisted  in  the  U.  S.  Army — Tries  to  Decamp — Is 
Court-martialed — Sentenced  to  Death — A  Mother's  Petition  Saved  his  Life 
— Reprieved  and  Sentenced  to  Imprisonment — By  a  Strategem  he  Eludes 
the  Vigilance  of  the  Sentinel  and  Escapes — Hides  in  a  Cave  near  Carlisle — 
Resolves  to  Leave  for  Safer  Quarters — Arrives  at  Bellefonte — Becomes  a 
Counterfeiter — Is  Arrested  and  Lodged  in  the  Troy,  N.  Y.,  Jail — Woman's 
Perfidy — Woman's  Weakness — Escapes — Runs  off  with  a  Silly  Young 
Girl — Marries  Her — His  Dissertation  on  Society — Goes  to  Nevr  York  City 
— Meets  a  Yankee  Peddler — Is  Advised  to  go  to  Pennsylvania  as  the  Peo- 
ple of  this  State  are  "  Easy  to  be  Imposed  Upon." 


CONFESSION  OF  LEWIS. 

O  !  Reputation  !  dearer  far  than  life ; 

Thou  precious  balsam,  lovely,  sweet  of  smell ; 

Whose  cordial  drops  once  spilt  by  some  rash  hand, 

Not  all  the  owner's  care,  nor  the  repenting  toil 

Of  the  rude  spiller  can  ever  collect, 

To  its  first  purity,  its  native  sweetness. 

I  WAS  born  in  Carlisle,  in  the  County  of  Cumberland,  Pennsyl- 
vania, on  the  4th  clay  of  March,  Anno  Domini  1790,  of  poor  pa- 
rents, of  respectable  connections,  but  whose  precarious  means  of 
subsistence  and  consequent  devotion  of  their  time  to  satisfy  the  more 
urgent  necessities  of  life,  left  them  little  leisure  to  pay  that  atten- 
tion to  a  numerous  family  of  children  which  is  at  all  times  neces- 
sar}^  to  their  welfare  in  this  world  and  salvation  in  the  world  to 
come.  Of  course  I  grew  up,  as  most  boys  in  such  situations  do, 
without  regard  for  men  and  little  fear  of  God. 

In  1193  my  father  removed  with  his  family  to  Northumberland 
count}^  and  was  appointed  a  Deputy  District  Surveyor,  in  which 
situation  he  continued  several  years,  but  was  unfortunate  in  the 
many  collisions  arising  out  of  his  official  conduct,  and  his  affairs 
were  but  little  mended  for  the  better,  when  he  died,  leaving  the 
family  illy  provided  for,  and  my  education  was  of  course  very 
limited. 

I  continued  to  live  with  my  mother,  and  occasionally  job  for  the 


THE  ROBBER  AND  COUNTERFEITER.  35 

neighboring  farmers,  until  the  year  1807,  when  I  left  her,  and  after 
being  employed  in  several  occupations  enlisted  with  a  recruiting 
party  at  Bellefonte,  but  shortly  afterwards,  the  sergeant  undertak- 
ing to  have  me  "cobbed  "  for  a  petty  offense,  I  ran  away  and  left 
them.  Some  montlis  afterwards  I  enlisted  as  a  private  in  Capt. 
Wm.  N.  Irvine's  *  company  of  Light  Artillery,  in  the  service  of 
the  United  States,  under  a  feigned  name,  using  that  of  Armstrong 
Lewis,  and  was  accordingly  so  called,  mustered  and  enrolled.  I 
had  before  this  tasted  of  the  bitter  sweets  of  pleasure  and  dissi- 
pation and  intending  to  decamp  the  first  opportunity,  determined 
upon  suppl3'ing  my  pocket  with  the  bounty  money,  to  enable  me 
to  indulge  in  my  old  excesses,  for  which  I  had  imbibed  a  strong 
relish  and  was  naturally  very  fond  of.  But  many  obstacles  hap- 
pening to  frustrate  my  plan,  a  scheme  came  into  my  head  of  trj'ing 
to  avail  myself  of  the  "quirks  and  quibbles"  of  the  law,  and  with 
this  view  I  applied  to  a  lawyer  in  Carlisle,  where  I  was  now  sta- 
tioned, who  giving  me  every  encouragement  to  proceed,  I  sued 
out  a  writ  and  after  a  tedious  hearing  before  Judge  Creigh,'|'  found 
the  hopes  which  my  lawyer  had  raised  disappointed  ;  the  Judge 
decided  against  me  and  I  was  again  remanded  into  service.  This 
affair  leading  to  an  enquiry  into  mj"  life  and  conduct,  it  was  dis- 
covered that  I  had  enlisted  once  before  under  my  proper  name  and 
had  deserted.  At  that  period  the  rumor  of  a  war  with  England, 
which  had  prevailed  for  some  time,  began  to  increase  and  grow 
louder,  and  the  oflScers  of  the  army  becoming  moi'e  rigorous  in  their 

*  Captain  Irvine  probably  was  the  young  lawyer  of  whom  the  following 
record  is  made  in  Dr.  Wing's  History  of  Cumberland  County  :  "On  the 
5th  day  of  December,  1800,  a  complaint  is  made  to  the  Court  by  Thomas 
Duncan,  Esq.,  stating  that  Frederick  John  Haller,  Esq.,  a  member  of  the 
Bar,  had,  on  the  evening  of  the  tirst  of  Decembei-,  in  open  court,  behaved 
in  an  indecent  and  disorderly  manner  to  Wm.  N.  Irvine,  a  young  gentle- 
man reading  law  under  the  direction  of  Mr.  Duncan.  There  aie  several 
depositions,  one  of  which  reads  :  '  That  on  the  afternoon  of  the  3d  of  De- 
cember the  deponent  was  present  in  court  sitting  near  to  Wm.  N.  Irvine 
and  Frederick  J.  Haller,  and  heard  Frederick  J.  Haller  say  that  some  per- 
son was  an  ordinary  looking  fellow.  Wm.  N.  Irvine  said  that  he  did  not 
look  worse  than  he'did  himself.  Frederick  Haller  then  told  Mr.  Irvine  that 
he  must  look  a  great  deal  better  than  he  did — and  further  the  deponent 
says  not.'  Ho  much  only  in  regard  to  the  appearance  of  these  rival  beauties; 
but  it  was  further  certified  that  ]Mr.  Haller  had  called  ^Ir.  Irvine  an  '  im- 
pudent young  puppy.'  Whereupon  the  Court  did  'suspend  the  said  Fred- 
erick John  Haller  from  practising  law  as  an  attorney  in  the  Court  of  Com- 
mon'Pleas  aforesaid.'  Mr.  Haller  was  reinstated  in  .March  Term,  1801." 
The  History  of  Cumberland  and  Adams  Counties,  issued  in  1886,  referring 
to  the  "Carlisle  Light  Infantry,"  does  not  give  the  name  of  Captain  Irvine 
among  the  list  of  the  several  captains. 

f  Hon.  John  Creigh,  Associate  Judge  of  Cumberland  County. 


36  LIFE   AND   ADVENTURES   OF   DAVID   LEM'IS, 

discipline,  and  strict  in  the  execution  of  the  rules  and  articles  of 
war,  it  was  considered  a  duty  which  they  owed  their  country,  to 
have  me  arrested  on  the  serious  charges  of  desertion  and  double 
enlistment. 

A  General  Court-martial  was  accordingly  organized,  under  the 
direction  of  Gen.  James  Wilkinson,  who  at  that  time  was  stationed 
at  the  Carlisle  Barracks,  and  the  result  was  such  as  my  foreboding 
fears  and  consciousness  of  guilt  had  anticipated.  The  evidence 
was  positive — I  was  found  guilty  of  the  charges  and  ordered  to 
undergo  the  ignominious  punishment  which  the  law  inflicts. 

Young  in  years  and  young  in  crime,  the  sentence  of  death  was 
not  communicated  to  me  without  producing  the  most  agonizing 
sensations,  arising  out  of  a  fear  of  an  awful  hereafter  and  the  love 
of  life.  Besides  I  had  an  aged  mother,  to  whom  I  was  fondly  at- 
tached by  the  ties  of  natural  afi'ection,  and  it  pained  me  to  the  soul 
to  think  that  the  ignominious  death  of  a  beloved  son  must  embitter 
the  evening  of  her  life  and  bring  down  her  gray  hairs  with  sorrow 
to  the  grave.  Through  the  intercession  of  a  friend  I  was  permitted 
the  use  of  pen,  ink  and  paper,  to  write  to  my  poor  mother  who 
lived  in  Centre  county.  I  informed  her  of  my  distressed  and  peri- 
lous situation,  and  besought  her  to  use  her  influence  in  my  behalf. 
I  waited  for  some  time  in  dreadful  suspense  and  counted  the  lin- 
gering days  with  great  anxiety,  until  my  ears  were  at  length  greeted 
with  the  cheering  intelligence  "your  mother  is  come."  Gen.  Wil- 
kinson, whose  character  for  humanity  is  already  well  known,  freely 
granted  us  a  private  interview  and  the  afflicted  mother  embraced 
her  unhappy  son,  in  solemn  silence,  without  either  of  us  being  able 
to  speak  a  word  for  some  time.  She  reproached  me  not,  but  the 
silent  rebuke  of  her  heart-searching  eye  spoke  daggers  to  my  soul. 
After  some  time  she  informed  me  that  Judge  Walker,  of  whose 
goodness  and  humanity  she  spoke  in  the  highest  terms,  had  loaned 
her  his  horse  and  written  letters  in  her  behalf  to  some  friends  he 
had  in  Carlisle,  to  interest  themselves  for  me. 

My  mother  had  brought  with  her  the  family  record,  to  prove  my 
age,  and  which  she  delivered  to  Andrew  Carothers  and  James 
Duncan,  Esqs.,  my  attorneys,  who  made  every  exertion  to  procure 
my  release  under  the  minor  act.     But  Judge  Hamilton*  decided 

*  Judge  James  Hamilton  was  of  Irish  extraction.  He  was  considered  an 
excellent  lawyer  and  was  a  tolerable  speaker.  In  1806  he  was  appointed 
President  Judge  of  this  Judicial  District,  in  which  position  he  continued 
until  his  death,  in  1819. 


THE  ROBBER  AND  COUNTERFEITER.  37 

that  tlie  civil  power  had  no  jurisdiction  to  intorfere  with  the  sen- 
tence of  a  Court-martial,  and  I  was  again  remanded  to  the  military 
authority.  Eventually,  owing  to  the  humane  exertions  of  many 
worthy  individuals,  and  the  generous  sentiments  which  filled  the 
noble  breast  of  Gen.  Wilkinson,  I  was  reprieved,  and  my  sentence 
commuted  to  imprisonment. 

I  was  now  thrown  into  the  guard  house,  fettered  and  chained, 
and  the  time  for  which  I  was  to  be  confined  being  indefinite,  I  was 
vei-y  uneas}^  and  ver}^  unhappy.  After  a  week's  painful  trial  of 
these  miseries  the  irons  were  all  taken  off  me  save  a  heavy  chain, 
which  was  fastened  to  my  ankle,  and  to  one  end  of  which  was  afifixed 
a  cannon  ball  weighing  between  thirty  and  forty  pounds.  B}'  the 
aid  of  a  Barlow  knife  which  I  hacked  on  the  bars  of  my  prison 
window,  I  succeeded  in  sawing  the  chain  in  such  a  manner  that  I 
could,  when  a  favorable  opportunity  occurred,  break  it  off  and  make 
my  escape.  By  lifting  a  plank  in  the  floor  I  had  contrived  to  get  into 
the  cellar  of  the  building,  but  not  being  able  to  get  out  of  the  cel- 
lar without  much  trouble  and  digging,  I  returned  and  replaced  the 
plank.  Sometimes  for  exercise  and  to  amuse  myself  I  would  lay 
the  chain  and  clog  aside  and  throw  somersaults  on  the  floor,  &c., 
which  I  was  no  wise  careful  to  conceal  from  the  soldier  who  stood 
sentry  over  me,  who  was  much  delighted  with  my  exhibitions  of 
agility.  And  he  gave  himself  little  ti*ouble  about  whether  the  chain 
was  on  or  off,  so  that  I  passed  examination  in  the  morning  with 
the  sergeant.  I  had  also  taken  so  much  pains  to  ingratiate  myself 
in  his  good  opinion,  that  he  appeared  to  place  the  most  unlimited 
confidence  in  me,  and  one  day  having  occasion  to  go  out,  he  did 
not  care  to  accompany  me  as  usual,  when  I  embraced  the  opportu- 
nity to  bid  farewell  to  him  and  the  camp  forever. 

Having  succeeded  by  this  stratagem  in  eluding  the  vigilance  of 
the  sentinel,  my  whole  mind  and  thoughts  were  occupied  in  making 
ray  escape  secure.  In  my  occasional  rambles  from  the  Barracks,  I 
had  been  to  visit  the  remarkable  *  cave  near  Carlisle,  and  consider- 
ing that  this  place  would  afford  a  safe  retreat,  I  accordingly  steered 
my  course  for  it.  My  mind  being  much  agitated  by  alternate  hopes 
and  fears,  I  was  unable  at  the  time  to  fix  upon  any  ultimate  course 
of  conduct.  The  prospect  of  an  escape  engrossed  my  whole  atten- 
tion, and  my  greatest  anxiety  was  to  reach  the  destined  place  of 
my  retreat  by  the  nearest  way.     In  doing  this  I  was  under  the  ne- 

*  A  minute  description  of  this  remarkable  cave  is  given  in  Chapter  I. 


38  LIFE   AND   ADVENTURES   OF   DAVID   LEWIS, 

cessit}'  to  cross  the  race,  which  supplies  with  water  the  mill  below. 
Running  at  full  speed  and  endeavoring  to  clear  the  stream  at  one 
leap,  mj'  foot  slipped  and  I  fell  against  a  rock  which  projected  from 
the  opposite  bank.  As  soon  as  I  recovered  myself  from  this  mis- 
hap, which  was  attended  with  no  other  consequence  than  a  slight 
sprain  of  one  my  ankles,  I  proceeded  in  my  flight  as  speedily  as  I 
could  and  arrived  at  the  mouth  of  the  cave  just  as  the  setting  sun 
was  shedding  its  last  beam  upon  the  waters  of  the  winding  Cono- 
doguinet.  I  lost  no  time  in  entering,  and  without  the  aid  of  candle 
or  torch,  made  my  way  as  well  as  I  could  to  the  farthest  corner  of 
this  dark  and  dismal  place,  the  abode  and  habitation  of  the  bat.  I 
crept  on  my  hands  and  knees  through  a  small  crevice,  until  I  found 
myself  in  a  place  called  the  '•  Devil's  Dining  Room,"  and  there  I  re- 
mained in  great  trepidation  and  anxiety  until,  as  near  as  I  can  re- 
collect, about  the  hour  of  ten  o'clock  at  night,  when  the  cravings 
of  a  hungrj^  stomach  demanded  that  I  should  make  some  exertions 
to  suppl}'  the  wants  of  nature.  The  danger  of  immediate  apprehen- 
sion having  subsided,  owing  to  the  late  hour  and  a  supposition  that 
if  any  person  had  been  sent  in  pursuit  they  would  not  care  to  travel 
after  night,  I  determined  on  leaving  the  cave,  and  accordingly 
crossed  the  fording  below  ;  and  pursuing  a  direction  for  the  gap  in 
the  mountain,  it  was  not  long  before  the  barking  of  an  angry  dog 
convinced  me  that  I  was  near  a  house.  As  soon  as  I  came  oppo- 
site, I  resolved  upon  making  an  experiment  on  the  hospitality  of 
the  owner,  and  accordingly  knocked  with  a  loud  rap  at  the  door. 
All  being  quiet  and  still,  it  appeared  that  the  family  had  retired  for 
the  night,  and  it  was  not  until  I  had  made  repeated  attempts  that 
I  succeeded  in  making  myself  heard.  The  first  noise  that  saluted 
my  ears  was  the  raising  of  a  small  window  above,  when  I  observed 
the  head  of  some  person  surrounded  with  a  red  flannel  night  cap, 
and  from  the  shrillness  of  the  voice  that  demanded  "  who's  there  ?  " 
I  immediately'  perceived  that  it  was  a  female.  After  some  parley 
she  at  length  agreed  to  descend  and  let  me  in.  I  found  that  I  was 
not  disappointed  in  my  expectation  of  procuring  a  supper,  and  my 
kind  hostess  on  being  made  acquainted  with  m}^  wants  immediately 
went  on  to  prepare  it.  I  assisted  her  in  kindling  the  fire,  and  be- 
fore the  lapse  of  twenty  minutes  partook  of  the  repast  with  a  better 
appetite  and  as  much  joy,  as  ever  a  conquering  General,  or  member 
of  Congress  or  a  Judge  sat  down  to  a  public  banquet.  My  fare 
consisted  of  fried  sausages,  bread  and  butter,  a  cup  of  milk,  and  the 
biggest  end  of  a  Yankee  cheese.     I  did  great  justice  to  the  kindness 


THE  ROBBER  AND  COUNTERFEITER.  39 

of  this  good  woman,  and  having  indulged  myself  in  eating  with  a 
freedom  that  I  afterwards  repented  of,  I  was  invited  to  ascend  the 
ladder  into  the  loft,  where  I  was  furnished  with  a  bed  and  lodgings 
for  the  remainder  of  the  night.  Whether  it  was  owing  to  the 
effects  of  the  cheese  or  the  sausages,  I  have  ever  since  been  unable 
to  determine,  but  certain  it  is,  that  never  was  a  night  spent  in  so 
disagreeable  a  manner,  with  retchings,  sickness  of  the  stomach  and 
vomiting. 

Being  afraid  to  expose  m3-self  in  a  place  so  public  in  open  day,  I 
took  ray  departure  about  four  o'clock  in  the  morning,  without  bid- 
ding adieu  or  returning  thanks  to  my  landlady,  of  whom  I  began  to 
entertain  suspicious  thoughts  and  recall  to  my  mind  the  many 
stories  I  had  heard  of  "  poisoned  cheese "  and  "  colt  sausages." 
After  winding  my  way  for  some  distance  through  the  woods,  I 
ascended  the  top  of  the  Blue  Mountain,  about  sunrise,  and  avoiding 
the  great  roads  as  much  as  possible,  I  pursued  my  journey  towards 
the  residence  of  m}-  mother  in  Centre  county,  after  experiencing 
many  a  hungry  belly  and  sleepless  night.  I  arrived  at  m}'  mother's 
much  fatigued,  and  entering  the  house  just  as  the  family  were  pre- 
paring to  rake  up  the  embers  of  a  dying  fire  and  retire  to  rest,  ac- 
costed the  old  lady  before  I  was  recognized  by  an 3^  of  mj'  brothers 
or  sisters  ;  I  could  easily  perceive  that  whilst  the  beam  of  joy  played 
in  her  eye  at  seeing  me  again,  it  was  evident  the  thorn  of  sorrow 
was  planted  in  her  heart,  lest  it  might  involve  me  in  fresh  difficul- 
ties and  ti'oubles.  I  remained  with  mj'  mother's  family  some  time, 
and  was  almost  persuaded  to  settle  and  become  industrious  and 
sober,  but  my  rambling  disposition  predominated  and  for  the  sake 
of  compan}^  and  amusement  I  paid  occasional  visits  to  this  town 
(Bellefonte).  I  frequented  the  taverns  for  the  sake  of  sport  and 
to  drown,  in  the  society  of  loungers  which  are  always  to  be  found 
in  the  bar-rooms  of  a  country  inn,  the  compunctions  of  conscience 
with  which  I  was  at  that  time  occasionally  visited,  and  although  I 
was,  previous  to  this,  guilty  of  many  juvenile  indiscretions  and  petty 
oflences,  I  never  contemplated  embarking  in  those  dangerous  and 
unlawful  enterprises  which  unhappil}^  distinguish  the  remainder 
of  my  career.  I  here  discovered,  through  the  medium  of  the  news- 
papers and  other  sources  of  information,  that  the  people  of  the  in- 
terior had  resolved  to  establish  country'  banks,  and  from  the  num- 
ber which  then  existed,  young  and  ignorant  as  I  was,  I  foresaw  that 
while  such  a  measure  would  terminate  in  the  ruin  of  society,  it 
would  tend  to  facilitate  the  views  of  counterfeiters,  and  open  a  door 


40  LIFE   AND   ADVENTURES  OF   DAVID   LEWIS, 

for  carr}' ing  on  extensive  schemes  of  fraud  on  the  ignorant  and 
weak  part  of  the  community.  Unluckily  for  me,  I  one  day  hap- 
pened to  fall  in  company  with  one  of  those  tin  peddlers  or  Yankee 
cart  men,  who  at  that  time  were  very  numerous  all  over  the  country, 
and  who  showed  me  a  large  quantity  of  bank  bills,  purporting  to  be 
issued  from  sundry  banks  at  Philadelphia  and  elsewhere,  and  which 
he  said  he  obtained  at  Burlington,  in  the  State  of  Vermont,  at  a 
ver}^  low  rate,  and  that  he  could  make  an  independent  fortune  in  a 
very  short  time,  provided  he  had  any  person  upon  whom  he  could 
depend,  to  aid  and  assist  him  in  their  circulation.  Being  induced 
b}''  the  flattering  prospect  thus  held  out,  I  accompanied  him  to  Bur- 
lington, where  I  was  introduced  to  this  manufacturing  association, 
and  soon  became  initiated  into  all  the  mysteries  of  the  fraternity. 
With  a  mind  bent  on  unholy  gain  I  soon  became  an  adept  at  the 
business,  and  received  from  them  for  distribution  and  circulation  a 
considerable  amount  of  spurious  notes. 

After  leaving  Burlington  with  m^'^  part  of  the  common  stock,  and 
finding  that  the  Vermontese  were  too  much  like  their  ancestors,  the 
Yankees,  to  permit  a  "green  hand  "  like  me  to  ivnpose  upon  their 
credulity,  I  considered  my  wisest  plan  was  to  make  my  way  into 
New  York  and  Pennsylvania ;  as  I  knew  that  in  the  latter  State  a 
great  portion  of  the  population  consisted  of  Germans,  who,  while 
they  are  upright  and  honest  themselves,  are  unsuspecting  of  the 
villainies  of  others.  In  New  York,  I  met  with  considerable  success 
in  passing  and  exchanging  my  counterfeit  money,  but  crime  not 
always  prospering  or  escaping  detection,  I  was  discovered  in  an 
unlucky  bargain  which  I  had  concluded  with  a  certain  Gen.  Root, 
who  was  then  on  an  electioneering  camioaign,  and  who  had  invited 
me  to  crack  a  bottle  of  wine  with  him  to  the  health  and  success  of 
Gov.  Daniel  D.  Tompkins.  Having  taken  a  fancy  to  one  of  the 
Genei'al's  horses,  and  finding  him  rather  soft  in  the  head  we  soon 
struck  a  bargain,  and  I  paid  him  principally  in  my  Burlington 
notes.  In  attempting  to  repass  some  of  these  bills  the  General  was 
taken  up,  and  being  in  a  place  where  he  was  entirely  unknown  was 
on  the  eve  of  being  committed  for  trial,  when  a  citizen  who  had 
seen  him  receive  the  notes,  went  bail  for  his  appearance,  and  ac- 
companied the  General  in  his  pursuit  of  me.  Not  expecting  an  im- 
mediate detection,  I  had  retired  in  the  evening  to  enjoy  myself  in 
one  of  those  houses  which  are  generally  to  be  found  in  the  outskirts 
of  towns,  and  kept  by  frail  fair  ones  as  "  decent  establishments,'' 
for  the  accommodation  of  strangers  and  others.     The  General  and 


THE  ROBBER  AND  COUNTERFEITER.  41 

his  companion  found  me  after  a  diligent  seareli  comfortably  laid  up 
in  snug  quarters  for  the  night,  and  instantlj''  hurried  me  off  to  a 
.  magistrate,  who  made  out  my  commitment,  and  I  soon  found  my- 
self lodged  in  the  jail  of  Troy.  I  lay  here  some  weeks  and  had 
very  gloomy  prospects,  when  reflecting  on  the  result  of  my  trial, 
which  was  to  come  on  in  about  a  month,  but  soon  began  to  flatter 
myself  with  a  prospect  of  escape,  through  the  agency'  of  the  daugh- 
ter of  the  jailer,  who  in  her  father's  absence  introduced  to  m}^  room 
a  3'oung  woman  who  was  an  intimate  friend  of  hers,  and  who  I  had 
often  remarked  gazing  through  the  bars  of  my  window  from  the 
house  opposite,  and  who  was  apparently  much  interested  in  my  fate. 
The  sentiments  of  pity  which  at  first  warmed  the  bosom  of  this 
tender  hearted  young  woman,  soon  ripened  into  love,  and  after  a 
short  courtsliip,  I  prevailed  upon  her  to  assist  me  in  escaping  under 
a  promise  of  marriage. 

To  effect  this  desirable  object,  every  necessary  preparation  was 
made,  and  agreeably  to  previous  arrangements,  my  kind  friend,  the 
jailer's  daughter, /or^/o^  to  lock  the  door  of  the  prison  apai'tment, 
in  which  I  was  confined.  After  she  had  brought  in  my  usual  allow- 
ance, one  Sunday  evening,  when  the  rest  of  the  famih'  and  most  of 
the  town  had  gone  to  church,  to  hear  a  new  preacher  whose  name 
I  do  not  recollect,  I  seized  the  favorable  opportunit}^  and  without 
hindrance  left  the  prison.  I  found  the  j'oung  woman  who  had  con- 
sented to  accompany  me,  waiting  with  great  anxiety  at  the  extrem- 
ity' of  the  street  that  leads  to  Albany.  Neither  of  us  were  in  a 
mood  for  much  conversation,  and  we  immediately  hurried  towards 
that  city,  after  agreeing  that  both  should  change  our  names,  she 
to  assume  the  name  of"  Melinda,"  while  I  was  to  use  that  of  Yan 
BuREN,  the  patronymic  of  an  ancient  Dutch  family,  who  had  emi- 
grated from  Holland,  and  settled  at  an  early  period  in  the  province 
of  New  York.  My  female  companion  experienced  all  the  terrors 
which  usuall}^  accompany  the  most  timid  of  the  sex,  when  placed 
in  a  similar  situation.  The  constant  dread  of  being  pursued  by  her 
friends  and  overtaken  ;  the  regret  at  forsaking  the  house  and  pro- 
tection of  a  widowed  mother;  the  circumstance  of  her  elopement 
with  a  stranger,  of  whose  character  she  was  perfectl}'  ignorant,  and 
whose  face  she  never  had  seen,  until  she  saw  him  through  the  bars 
of  a  prison  window,  all  tended  to  alarm  lier  fears  for  the  present, 
and  excite  her  apprehensions  for  the  future.  We  had  not  proceeded 
in  our  flight  more  than  five  miles  before  I  discovered  from  her  agi- 
tated manner,  her  stifled  sighs,  and  suffocated  breathing,  that  she 


42  LIFE   AND   ADVENTURES   OF   DAVID   LEWIS, 

repented  of  the  rash  step  she  had  taken.  A  dead  silence  prevailed, 
and  neither  of  us  spoke  one  word  for  at  least  half  an  hour,  when  all 
at  once  she  stopped  suddenly,  burst  into  tears,  threw  off  her  bonnet, 
tore  her  hair,  and  uttered  the  most  frantic  expressions,  exclaiming 
repeatedly,  "  Oh !  m}'  mother  1  mj'  poor  mother !  what  will  become 
of  my  mother!  "  My  heart  was  not  callous  to  the  distresses  of 
others,  and  the  sight  of  a  woman  in  tears,  more  especially  one  who 
had  so  strong  an  attachment  to  me,  could  not  fail  to  soften  my  own 
feelings,  and  produce  a  shower  of  tears  nearly  as  plenteous  as  her 
own.  As  soon  as  I  subdued  this  violent  expression  of  sensibility, 
I  used  every  argument  in  my  power  to  assuage  her  grief  and  mod- 
erate her  passion,  and  at  length  succeeded  in  pacifying  her  by  re- 
newing my  promise  of  marriage,  which  I  supported  by  repeated 
oaths  of  sincerity  and  many  horrid  imprecations  and  curses  on  my 
own  head,  if  I  did  not  fulfil  it  in  the  most  honorable  manner,  the 
first  opportunity  that  offered.  Having  in  a  measure  composed  Me- 
linda's  perturbed  mind,  and  painted  in  glowing  colors  the  paradis- 
aical enjoj'ments  of  "married  "  life,  which  possesses  such  powerful 
attractions  in  the  romantic  imagination  of  a  young  girl  of  sixteen, 
we  recommenced  our  journey,  and  proceeded  without  interruption, 
until  we  had  walked  nearly  ten  miles  further,  when  my  "  way-worn 
traveler  "  began  to  complain  of  blistered  feet,  fatigue  and  weari- 
ness ;  expressing  her  wish  that  we  should  put  up  for  the  remainder 
of  the  night.  I  could  not  resist  her  earnest  entreaties,  and  not- 
withstanding the  dangers  of  a  successful  pursuit,  the  next  farm  we 
came  to  furnished  us,  in  one  of  its  out-houses,  with  a  safe  retreat,  and 
the  means  of  repose  on  some  buckwheat  straw,  which  I  had  gathered 
for  the  purpose  in  an  adjacent  barn  yard.  My  companion  in  flight 
(for  so  I  then  considered  her,  having  as  yet  no  legal  right  to  use  the 
appellation  "  wife  "),  soon  threw  herself  on  these  hard  lodgings,  and 
so  much  was  she  overpowered  with  the  exercise  of  travel,  that  not- 
withstanding her  agitation  of  spirit,  she  instantly  sunk  into  the  em- 
brace of  sleep.  She  continued  to  enjoy  "  heaven's  sweet  restorer, 
balm}^  sleep,"  for  about  four  hours,  and  did  not  awake  until  the  loud 
and  shrill  notes  of  a  noisy,  troublesome  rooster,  who  had  perched 
on  a  neighboring  tree,  proclaimed  the  near  approach  of  morning  by 
his  repeated  crowing — the  sure,  unerring  harbinger  of  day. 

Shortl}^  after  she  awoke  from  this  refreshing  slumber,  we  prepared 
to  commence  our  journey  anew,  and  continued  with  a  slow,  but  con- 
stant gait,  through  circuitous  by-roads  and  unfrequented  paths, 
until  we  reached  Albany  in  the  evening,  just  as  the  city  clock  had 


THE  ROBBER  AND  COUNTERFEITER.  43 

struck  seven.  Not  forgetting  the  promise  of  marriage,  which  I  had 
contracted  in  the  most  solemn  manner,  and  made  under  circum- 
stances that  required  more  hardihood  of  villainy  to  break,  than  I 
possessed  at  the  worst  period  of  m}'  life,  I  immediately  bespoke  of 
the  landlord  of  the  house  at  which  we  put  up,  a  private  apartment, 
and  went  in  search  of  a  minister,  who  soon  made  his  appearance, 
and  performed  the  ceremony  in  a  mean  and  shabby  tavern  at  the 
extremity  of  State  street.  As  soon  as  the  service  was  over,  I  pre- 
pared to  pay  the  minister  his  fee,  and  having  mixed  my  good  and 
bad  money  together,  I  unfortunately  presented  him,  through  mis- 
take, with  one  of  my  ten  dollar  counterfeit  Burlingtons,  but  the 
generous  man,  much  to  my  surprise,  objecting  to  the  largeness  of 
the  proffered  gratuity,  returned  the  note  and  refused  in  the  most 
positive  terms  to  accept  of  more  than  two  dollars,  which  I  instantly 
handed  him  in  silver,  which  at  that  time  had  began  to  grow  some- 
what scarce. 

Melinda  now  appeared  for  the  first  time  to  wear  a  more  cheerful 
countenance  than  she  had  done  since  her  elopement.  The  perform- 
ance of  my  marriage  promise  had  satisfied  her  scrupulous  delicacj^ 
and  removed  a  heav}'  weight  of  anxiety  and  distress,  which  seemed 
to  press  upon  her  spirits. 

It  was  evident,  until  this  took  place,  that  her  chaste  mind  filled 
with  fears  and  doubts  of  mj'  sincerity,  and  suspected  me  of  base 

Qpgjo'ns  ^  ^  5fc  ^  7^  5(c  :^  ^  :}c  sjc 

The  fact  is,  I  entertained  for  Melinda  as  pure  a  passion  as  ever 
warmed  the  breast  of  man  ;  the  lovel}'  girl  not  onl}-  had  won  my 
affections,  but  she  had  completely  secured  my  gratitude  and  gained 
my  confidence.  Although  vicious  mj'self,  I  respected  and  admired 
virtue  in  her,  and  had  I  only  followed  her  excellent  advice,  and 
profited  by  the  instruction  which  repeatedly  fell  from  her  lips,  I 
would  not  be  languishing  in  jail  upon  the  bed  of  death,  as  I  now 
am,  ashamed  to  live,  and  yet  afraid  to  die.  Melinda  possessed 
every  mental  endowment  and  personal  charm  to  attract  the  virtu- 
ous ;  and  had  she  not  been  so  unfortunate  as  to  meet  with  me,  be- 
fore years  and  experience  had  matured  her  judgment,  she  would,  no 
doubt,  have  made  a  happier  marriage  with  a  more  worthy  man,  and 
become  the  mother  of  children  proud  to  acknowledge  their  father, 
instead  of  being  ashamed  to  own  the  author  of  their  being.  Her 
pleasing  person,  her  light  and  flowing  hair,  the  brightness  of  a 
complexion  that  equalled  in  whiteness  the  new  fallen  snow,  the  rose 
of  beauty  and  the  bloom  of  youth  that  mantled  her  cheek,  and, 


44  LIFE   AND   ADVENTURES   OP  DAVID   LEWIS, 

above  all,  the  expression  of  a  blue  eye,  vying  for  mildness  with  an 
April  sky,  moistened  as  it  was  with  the  dew  of  heavenly'  charity, 
and  shaded  with  the  longest  eye-lash  I  ever  beheld,  were  sufficient 
to  captivate  a  man  whose  heart  was  less  warm  than  mine.  But  des- 
tiny had  wedded  her  to  ruin  when  she  became  my  wife.  Alas !  she 
merited  a  better  fate,  and  what  aggravates  my  present  agony  of  feel- 
ing, is  the  distressing  thought,  that  an  unchai'icable  world  inay  visit 
the  iniquities  of  the  husband  and  of  the  father  upon  his  desolate 
offspring. 

But  that  1  maj^  not  digress  too  far,  let  me  now  resume  my  narra- 
tive of  the  more  important  incidents. 

We  remained  at  Albanj'^  the  night  on  which  we  were  married,  and 
in  the  morning  I  imparted  to  my  wife  a  short  history  of  my  past 
life,  taking  care  to  conceal  from  her  knowledge  the  most  criminal  of 
my  adventures,  while  I  only  communicated  such  facts  as  I  consid- 
ered necessary  for  her  information,  that  the  course  of  life  in  which 
I  was  engaged  demanded  on  her  part  the  utmost  secrecy,  as  well 
as  good  management  and  ingenuity,  to  prevent  a  disclosui-e  of  my 
guilty  conduct,  which  inevitably  would  bring  down  disgrace  and 
ruin  on  m}'  head,  and  blast  the  future  prospects  of  us  both.  The 
explanation  I  gave  could  not  fail  to  shock  her  sensibility,  wound 
her  pride,  and  alarm  her  fears.  Until  this  disclosure  was  made,  I 
succeeded  in  making  her  believe  that  mj^  commitment  for  the  horse 
affair  at  Troy  was  a  conspiracy  between  Root  and  his  accomplices, 
and  that  the  combination  thus  formed  and  carried  on  between  them, 
to  charge  me  with  this  offence,  was  called  a  prosecution  under  color 
of  law,  but  was,  in  reality,  nothing  short  of  a  persecution  against 
all  law,  or  rather  justice,  originating  in  political  revenge  for  my  re- 
fusing to  support  the  election  of  Governor  Tompkins. 

The  love  of  imitation,  the  force  of  example,  and  the  influence  of 
association,  possess  a  great  and  wonderful  agency  in  fixing  the 
principles,  forming  the  character,  and  determining  the  views,  the 
prospects  and  the  destinies  of  men.  Societies,  whether  large  or 
small,  are  necessarily  composed  of  individuals,  and  these  individ- 
uals depend  on  one  another  in  a  greater  or  less  degree,  not  only  for 
the  means  of  subsistence  and  mutual  support,  but  also  for  moral 
and  religious  instruction,  for  political  information,  and  for  all  the 
tender  offices  of  charity,  benevolence  and  friendship.  Although  I 
had  been  deprived  of  the  advantages  of  a  good  education  in  my 
-youth,  nature  had  been  more  kind  and  bountiful  than  T  deserved, 
and  favored  me  with  more  abilities  and  talents  than  I  ever  made 
good  use  of.     Hence  I  had  not  long  mingled  in  society  before  I  had 


THE   ROBBER   AND   COUNTERFEITER.  45 

attained  mauhood  and  began  to  make  my  observations  upon  "  men 
and  things,"  before  I  perceived  how  useful  were  a  few  good  men  in 
a  neighborhood  or  even  in  the  same  town,  and  what  a  wonderful 
effect  tlieir  precept  and  example,  and  more  particularly  the  latter, 
had  upon  the  morals,  manners,  sentiments,  and  characters  of  their 
neighbors,  and  indeed  all  whose  happy  lot  was  cast  within  the 
sphere  of  their  knowledge  or  action,  while  at  the  same  time  I  was 
equall3-  struck  with  the  injurious  effects  produced  upon  society  by 
"  bad  men,"  whose  vicious  examples  had  a  pernicious  tendency  to 
wound  public  virtue,  and  destroy'  private  integrity,  corrupting  like 
the  "  poison  tree  of  Java  "  every  moral  principle,  that  came  within 
the  reach  of  contact,  or  imbibed  the  influence  of  its  deleterious 
effluvia.  I  also  remarked  that  the  danger  of  bad  examples  in- 
creased or  diminished  in  proportion  to  the  conspicuous  situations 
in  life  in  which  the  persons  might  happen  to  move,  from  whom  they 
proceeded,  and  that  the  ratio  of  influence  derived  an  additional  ac- 
cession from  the  circumstance  of  their  holding  a  high  or  exalted 
public  station  or  office,  and  more  especially  one  in  the  "'  gift "  of 
the  people.  Crime  begets  crime,  and  one  crime  furnishes  an  apol- 
ogy for  another,  and  must  continue  to  do  so  as  long  as  public  opin- 
i^ou  continues  to  whitewash  guilt,  and  guilt  rides  triumphantly  into 
office  and  power  upon  the  shoulders  of  popular  favor  or  political 
prejudice.  The  poor,  unhappy,  ignorant  and  wicked  highwa3'man, 
who  is  viewed  as  an  "outcast"  from  society',  and  an  outlaw  from 
justice,  never  hears  of  a  man  in  office  plundering  the  people,  rob- 
bing the  treasury,  or  swindling  the  stockholders  of  a  bank,  without 
having  his  mind  more  and  more  familiarized  with  vice,  and  feeling 
a  new  encouragement  from  the  force  of  example  to  persist  in  his 
career.  While  I  speak  of  m^'self,  I  judge  of  the  feelings  of  others 
from  my  own;  and  can  truly,  most  truly  declare,  that  such  were 
my  sentiments  at  the  time,  and  that  I  never  read  in  the  public 
newspapers  or  heard  of  a  breach  of  public  trust,  without  mailing  a 
comparison  favorable  to  the  life  and  calling  of  the  highway  robber. 
But  to  return  to  my  story.  Shortly  after  an  early  breakfast,  I  set 
out  again  on  foot,  accompanied  by  my  wife,  for  the  city  of  New 
York,  which,  from  its  crowded  population,  and  extensive  mercantile 
enterprise,  I  expected  would  afford  me  a  more  secure  hiding  place 
from  pursuit,  and  be  a  more  profitable  theatre  for  my  schemes  and 
plots.  After  walking  about  five  niiles  through  fields  and  cow-paths 
in  the  woods,  I  consulted  with  Melinda,  and  we  both  concluded 
upon  returning  to  the  high  road,  with  the  expectation  of  meeting 
some  Yankee  wagon,  with  which  every  part  of  the  country  at  that 


46  LIFE   AND   ADVENTURES   OF   DAVID   LEWIS, 

time  abounded,  and  to  procure  from  its  owner  a  conveyance  for  my 
wife,  who  was  not  able  to  travel  far  on  foot,  or  undergo  the  fatigues 
of  such  a  journey  in  the  distressing  state  in  which  her  feet  were,  on 
account  of  blisters. 

Besides,  I  discovered  that  in  coming  from  Troy  to  Albany,  we 
had  traveled  three  times  the  real  distance,  owing  to  our  pursuing 
a  winding  and  circuitous  route  to  avoid  pursuit  and  apprehension. 
Luckily  we  had  not  gone  more  than  a  mile  before  we  overtook  a  cart 
loaded  with  New  England  wares,  bending  its  way  straight  for  New 
York.  Finding  the  owner  to  be  a  very  pleasant  man  and  very  ac- 
commodating, I  soon  struck  a  bargain  with  him,  and,  providing 
Melinda  with  as  comfortable  a  seat  as  the  vehicle  afforded,  I  joined 
nay  new  companion  on  foot,  and  endeavored  to  beguile  the  tedious 
time  in  familiar  conversation,  and  customar}^  inquiries  about  vari- 
ous uninteresting  matters.  I  found  "  brother  Jonathan  "  shrewd, 
intelligent  and  full  of  anecdote.  During  my  short  residence  in 
Vermont,  I  had  acquired  a  number  of  cant  expressions  peculiar  to 
the  Yankees,  and  affecting  as  much  as  possible  the  New  England 
dialect,  succeeded  without  much  difficulty  in  making  him  believe  I 
was  a  native  of  Vermont,  and  was  born  at  the  foot  of  the  Green 
Mountains. 

I  endeavored  to  sift  him  as  much  as  possible,  and  as  he  was  full 
of  schemes  and  notions,  as  are  most  of  his  countrymen,  tried  to  ob- 
tain from  him  all  the  information  he  possessed.  After  gaining  his 
confidence,  I  was  very  near  exchanging  with  him  some  of  my  Bur- 
lington notes,  when  all  at  once  he  suddenly  declined  the  bargain  ; 
but  what  occasioned  this  unexpected  change  of  mind,  whether  he 
began  to  entertain  suspicions  of  me  or  had  some  other  reason,  I 
could  not  learn.  During  our  conversation,  I  recollect  he  dissuaded 
me  from  going  into  any  part  of  the  New  England  States,  alleging 
that  the  Yankees  had  sharpers  enough  of  their  own,  and  but  few 
instances  occurred  of  a  Scotchman,  a  Jew,  or  any  person  south  of 
Connecticut,  who  ever  made  out  to  thrive  or  do  well  by  removing 
to  any  part  of  that  country.  He  then  advised  me  strongly  to  re- 
move into  Pennsylvania,  where  a  great  portion  of  the  population 
were  credulous,  ignorant,  unsuspicious,  and  easy  to  be  imposed 
upon.  He  laughed  quite  immoderately  when  he  told  me,  that  his 
traveling  brethren  made  out  better  in  that  State  than  any  other  in 
the  Union,  and  diverted  me  exceedingly  by  repeating  the  many 
tricks  and  various  modes  of  cunning  practised  by  them  upon  the 
unwary,  adding,  that  among  themselves  they  called  it  lifting  Ger- 
many^ when  their  plans  succeeded  and  their  tricks  escaped  detection. 


THE  ROBBER   AND  COUNTERFEITER.  4t 


CHAPTER  V. 


Arrives  in  New  York  City— Predatory  Partnership— Restless  Conscience— 
The  Solemn  Oath-Bound  Pledge  Written  with  Blood— Relieves  ^Irs.  John 
Jacob  Astor  of  Her  Velvet  Bag— On  which  Account  He  Gets  into  Trouble 
with  His  Pals  and  Leaves  the  Society— Rescues  a  Young  Lady  from  the 
Clutches  of  a  Demon— Moves  to  New  Brunswick,  N.  J.— Visits  Princeton 
College— Expects  to  Find  Empty  Heads  and  Full  Purses— And  Succeeds 
Admirably— Advice  to  Parents  Not  to  Furnish  Money  too  Freely  to  the 
Youth  at  College— Visits  Philadelphia— Tries  His  Game  on  Stephen 
Girard,  but  Fails— Goes  to  Join  the  Army— Meets  With  Bad  Associates- 
Drives  a  Team— "A  War  of  Proclamations  "—Returns  to  Pennsylvania- 
Hears  of  the  Death  of  His  Wife— Is  Almost  Persuaded  to  Abandon  His 
Criminal  Career. 

A  FTER  journeying  some  daj^s  we  at  length  arrived  at  New  York 
-^^  about  dusk,  and  took  up  our  lodgings  for  the  night  at  the 
New  England  hotel,  the  usual  stopping  place  for  Yankee  cart-men. 
The  next  day  I  procured  a  room  in  a  small  house  up  an  alley  that 
leads  into  Pearl  street,  the  great  resort  of  merchants,  and  which 
from  its  narrowness  and  extensive  business  aiforded,  as  I  thought, 
better  opportunities  for  "  my  trade  "  than  any  other. 

I  had  not  long  remained  in  New  York,  before,  in  my  midnight 
rambles  through  the  city,  I  formed  an  acquaintance  with  several 
persons  of  the  same  principles,  habits,  and  characters  as  my  own. 
Our  views  coinciding,  the  acquaintance  soon  grew  into  intimacy, 
and  after  a  few  interviews,  a  week  had  not  elapsed  before  we  ex- 
changed the  "  oath  of  fidelity  and  secrecy,"  and  entered  into  firm 
articles  of  a  predatory  partnership.  The  names  of  my  associates 
I  think  it  unnecessary  and  improper  to  divulge.  Some  have  paid 
the  debt  of  nature,  others  are  now  suffering  for  their  crimes  in  the 
penitentiary ;  and  two  of  them  have  lately  discovered  such  evidence 
of  reformation  by  abandoning  their  former  practices,  and  pursuing 
an  honest  and  industrious  course  of  life,  that  I  am  of  opinion  the 
disclosure  might  do  society  no  good  and  them  much  harm. 

While  my  mind  is  suil'ering  all  the  torments  of  despair,  and  my 
body  languishes  with  pain  on  the  bed  of  sickness,  perhaps  of  death, 
it  is  impossible  for  me  to  recollect  at  this  time,  much  less  to  re- 


48  LIFE    AND    ADVENTURES   OF   DAVID    LEWIS, 

count  the  many  adventures,  thefts  and  burglaries,  the  depreda- 
tions, frauds  and  robberies  that  were  committed  and  practiced  by 
me  and  the  rest  of  the  "gang "during  my  continuance  in  this  place. 

I  look  back  upon  these  scenes  with  horror,  and  when  I  reflect  on 
the  many  tricks  and  strategems  we  adopted  to  deceive  the  "  City 
Watch,"  and  the  various  schemes  we  successfully  made  use  of  to 
overreach  and  elude  the  police  and  vigilance  of  that  great  metrop- 
olis, I  detest  myself  and  abhor  my  own  conduct  as  much  as  my 
greatest  enemy  can  do.  The  success  of  our  "  Pearl  street  estab- 
lishment "  exceeded  my  most  sanguine  expectations.  The  careless- 
ness of  domestic  servants  and  shop-boys,  in  securing  the  doors  and 
windows  of  dwelling  houses  and  stores,  the  improper  practice  of 
keeping  front  doors  unlocked  during  the  nights  of  performance  at 
the  theatre,  the  negligent  manner  in  which  the  watchmen  perform 
their  duties,  more  of  whom  we  found  asleep  than  awake,  and  some 
of  them  not  unfrequently  parading  the  streets  in  a  state  of  inebri- 
ety, were  propitious  cii'cumstances  in  affording  facilities  to  our  mid- 
night operations.  The  theatre,  the  battery,  the  auction  rooms, 
hotels,  taverns,  boarding  houses  and  the  wharves  were  the  princi- 
pal places  which  we  haunted  with  most  success,  and  we  often  wa}''- 
laid  youths  and  others  to  great  advantage  on  their  return  from 
houses,  which,  alas  1  are  but  too  common,  and  more  frequented  than  a 
regard  to  their  own  health,  the  peace  of  families,  and  the  police  of 
a  well  regulated  city  justify  or  permit.  When  after  a  night  thus 
spent  I  have  returned  to  my  room,  before  daylight  had  made  its  ap- 
pearance, and  found  Melinda  enjoying  that  undisturbed  repose  in 
sweet  sleep,  which  tranquillity  of  mind  and  innocence  of  conduct 
can  only  procure,  I  have  again  and  again  repented  of  my  misdeeds 
and  resolved  to  myself  that  "  I  would  henceforth  cease  to  do  evil 
and  learn  to  do  well."  But  all  my  resolutions  were  shortlived  and 
fallacious ;  fallacious  however  as  the}'  were,  the  delusion  was  pleas- 
ing ;  for  as  long  as  they  lasted,  they  operated  for  a  time  like  a  weak 
opiate  on  my  bewildered  senses,  and  throwing 'myself  on  the  same 
bed,  by  the  side  of  my  sleeping  wife,  exhausted  nature  was  some- 
what restored  by  an  uneasy  sleep,  disturbed  with  terrific  dreams, 
which  represented  to  my  disordered  and  feverish  imagination 
the  scenes  of  plunder  and  danger  in  which  I  had  lately  been  en- 
gaged. 

The  association  which  I  had  formed  in  New  York  was  governed 
by  certain  rules  and  regulations,  and  to  make  them  more  binding 
and  appear  more  solemn,  they  were  written  on  parchment  in  ink  of 


THE  ROBBER  AND  COUNTERFEITER.  49 

blood,  drawn  from  our  own  veins,  while  we  kneeled  in  a  ring  or 
circle  with  our  hands  mutually  clasping  each  other,  and  one  of  the 
band  standing  in  the  centre  with  a  basin  to  receive  the  red  fluid  of 
life.  According  to  one  of  the  articles,  the  fruits  of  our  joint  spoli- 
ations were  to  be  divided  amongst  us  at  stated  and  fixed  periods — 
and  for  tliis  purpose  we  proceeded  with  all  the  formula  of  a  bank 
direction,  having  a  president,  directors,  cashier,  teller  and  clerk,  and 
so  particular  were  we  in  providing  against  deception  that  one  of 
the  rules  prohibited,  under  the  penalty  of  expulsion,  an^^  member  of 
the  company  from  being  concerned  in  burning  any  of  the  books,  or 
altering  any  of  the  entries.  The  depository  of  our  plunder  was  denom: 
inated  a  "  vault,"  and  committees  of  examination  were  regularly  ap- 
pointed to  inspect  its  contents, and  report  to  the  company  at  a  general 
meeting.  A  dividend  was  declared  every  Sunday  night,  just  as  the 
cock  gave  his  midnight  crow.  On  one  of  these  periodical  settle- 
ments a  disturbance  of  a  singular  nature  took  place  that  disgusted 
me  a  good  deal  with  the  fraternity,  and  occasioned  m}'  abrupt  sep- 
aration from  them ;  it  was  this : — During  the  previous  week  I  at- 
tended the  "ladies'  auction  room," in  Broadway, and  had  been  very 
successful  in  picking  up  and  concealing  the  velvet  reticule  of  a  lady, 
who  had  made  considerable  purchases  of  some  rare  and  exj^ensive 
articles  of  female  ornaments  and  dress,  principally  of  French  man- 
ufacture, such  as  Brussels  lace  and  jewehy.  I  had  taken  my  stand 
on  the  opposite  side  of  the  street,  and  lounged  about  until  eleven 
o'clock,  when  a  handsome  equipage  stopped,  and  I  saw  a  lady  de- 
scend and  enter  the  room.  I  immediately  recognized  her  to  be  the 
wife  of  John  Jacob  Astor,  Esquire,  one  of  the  richest  merchants  in 
the  city,  and  who,  report  said,  was  very  liberal  in  his  presents  of 
money  to  supply  madame's  pin-money  establishment ;  I  soon, 
crossed  over,  and,  dressed  like  a  "  gentleman  in  true  dandy  style," 
the  sure  passport  of  admittance  into  female  society,  entered  the 
auction  room  and  saluted  the  ladies  with  all  the  graceful  ease  of  an 
old  acquaintance.  The  experienced  salesman,  knowing  that  the 
best  plan  for  picking  a  lady's  purse  was  to  dazzle  her  eyes,  soon 
exhibited  to  the  view  of  his  fair  customers  the  finest  lace  and  the 
most  elegant  jewelry  that  the  workshops  of  France  ever  produced  ; 
the  sale  commenced,  and  before  many  minutes  had  passed  awa}',  I 
saw  Mrs.  Astor  pack  into  her  velvet  bag  several  pieces  of  lace  and 
as  man}'  ornaments  of  jewelry  as  might  suffice  to  decorate  at  least 
half  a  dozen  of  brides.  After  she  had  completed  her  purchases 
she  carelessly  threw  her  reticule  on  a  bench  in  a  remote  corner  of 
4 


50  LIFE   AND   ADVENTURES   OF   DAVID   LEWIS, 

the  room,  iind  immediately  opened  a  brisk  conversation  ■^^'itli  a 
surrounding  group  of  male  and  female  companions,  who  buzzed 
around  her,  and  vied  with  one  another  for  volubility  and  nonsense. 
The  babel  of  voices  could  not  fail  to  attract  the  attention  of  the 
other  spectators,  who  crowded  the  place,  and  while  some  were  oc- 
cupied in  talking,  and  the  rest  in  listening  admiration,  I  laid  hold 
of  the  bag  with  apparent  carelessness,  and  thrusting  it  quickly  into 
my  bosom,  left  the  room  unnoticed,  taking  a  French  leave  of  the 
company. 

I  honestly  showed  to  my  companions  the  whole  amount  of  my 
valuable  prize,  and  finding  Melinda  on  my  return  home  in  low 
spirits  and  much  disheartened,  I  presented  her  with  a  piece  of  lace, 
which  she  refused  to  accept  for  a  long  time,  and  not  until  I  suc- 
ceeded in  making  her  believe  that  I  drew  it  as  a  prize  in  a  lottery 
recently  established  to  befriend  a  poor  widow,  whom  misfortune  in 
trade  had  obliged  to  decline  business.  The  company  met  the  third 
day  after  this  transaction,  to  settle  up  doings  of  the  preceding 
week,  and  omitting  to  render  an  account  of  the  lace  I  had  given  to 
my  wife,  I  was  accused  of  a  fraudulent  concealment.  Tiie  opinion 
of  the  majority  coinciding  with  my  accuser,  high  words  ensued, 
and  blows  succceeding  words  I  was  severely  beaten;  and  my  un- 
generous companions  threatening  to  lodge  an  information  against 
me  at  the  mayor's  office,  I  suddenlj^  determined  upon  quitting 
them,  and  made  arrangements  accordingly  for  leaving  New  York 
the  next  day. 

I  immediatel}'  communicated  my  determination  to  Melinda,  and 
she  received  the  intelligence  with  evident  marks  of  regret  and  dis- 
appointment. She  was  pleased  with  her  situation  in  Pearl  street, 
and  having  formed  an  intimac}^  with  a  few  females  in  the  neighbor- 
hood whose  society  she  liked,  she  was  unwilling  to  leave  New  York. 
She  was  affected  on  the  occasion  even  to  tears,  but  her  tears  were 
like  an  April  shower,  through  which  the  cheerful  sun  soon  broke, 
and  dissipated  every  cloud  of  discontent  that  hung  upon  her  brow. 
Our  household  affairs  did  not  require  much  time  to  prepare  the 
necessary  arrangements  previous  to  a  removal.  In  less  than  twelve 
hours  our  little  stock  of  furniture  was  either  packed  up  ready  for 
transportation,  or  disposed  of  at  priv^ate  sale,  or  given  away  as  pres- 
ents or  keepsakes  to  our  kind  neighbors.  In  the  evening  we 
crossed  the  river  and  proceeded  for  New  Brunswick,  in  the  State 
of  New  Jersey,  which  I  had  selected  as  the  place  of  our  temporary 
residence.     I  could  not  help  remarking  the  contrast  between  the 


THE  ROBBER  AND  COUNTERFEITER.  51 

feelings  of  Melinda  on  this  occasion  and  my  conduct — she  was  so 
seviousl}' distressed  on  leaving  the  place  that  contained  companions, 
who  were  equally  worthy  of  one  another,  that  she  was  afraid  to 
trust  herself  with  taking  a  formal  leave,  and  came  off  without  ex- 
changing the  parting  kiss  or  farewell  salutation,  whilst  I  was  all 
anxiety  to  remove  from  the  same  town  that  contained  companions 
with  whom  I  had  associated  from  selfish  views  of  interest  and  gain, 
but  v/hose  society  I  hated,  and  whose  conduct  in  many  instances  I 
secretly  abhorred  and  openly  disapproved  of  The  whole  number 
of  banditti  to  which  I  belonged  consisted  of  twentj'-one,  including 
m3-self,  and  for  the  designation  of  our  persons,  when  we  held  our 
secret  meetings,  it  was  agreed  that  each  should  assume  some  ficti- 
tious name  or  appellation.  The  name  appropriated  to  my  accuser 
was  "  Bub  Brimstone,"  while  that  applied  to  me  was  "  Harry  Hurri- 
cane," and  ever^'  one  of  us  had  some  strange  appellation  aflixed  to 
him,  just  as  fancy,  blasphemy,  or  some  leading  trait  of  character 
suggested.  Bob  was  one  of  the  most  bold,  daring,  and  blood-thirsty 
villains  I  ever  met  with.  Although  I  cannot  say  I  was  one  of  those 
who  look  upon  human  nature  as  so  very  depraved  as  to  admit,  at 
all  times  and  under  all  circumstances,  every  species  of  vice,  cruelty, 
and  crime  in  its  most  deformed  shape,  and  exclude  from  the  same 
bosom,  or  extinguish  in  it  everj^  spark  of  humanity  or  generous 
feeling,  j-et  truth  obliges  me  to  declare,  that  this  unhappy  individual 
had  less  of  the  man  and  more  of  the  monster  than  an^^  of  the  human 
family  I  ever  knew.  Villain}"-  had  marked  him  as  its  own,  and  it 
is  to  be  feared  there  is  not  a  vice  or  a  crime  that  he  had  not  perpe- 
trated at  some  period  of  his  life.  I  was  particularly  shocked  at  his 
brutal  conduct  on  one  occasion,  which  came  within  my  own  knowl- 
edge, and  for  which,  on  account  of  my  agency  in  preventing  his 
horrible  purpose,  he  swore  one  of  the  most  terrible  oaths  of  re- 
venge that  ever  fell  from  the  impious  lips  of  blasphemy.  It  had 
been  customary  with  the  "  band  "  to  give  their  attendance  at  the 
theatre  every  night  of  performance,  to  embrace  every  opportunity 
that  afforded  for  plunder,  robbery,  and  pocket-picking. 

We  knew  it  was  not  usual  for  the  merchants  and  other  inhabi- 
tants of  the  city  to  carry  about  their  persons  any  large  sums  of 
money,  especially  to  the  theatre  and  other  places  of  public  amuse- 
ment. Our  chief  dependence  was  on  country  merchants  and 
strangers,  who  might  happen  to  go  there  the  first  night  of  their 
arrival  in  town,  when,  owing  to  the  fatigues  of  travel,  and  a  desire 
to  indulge  a  gawkish  curiosit}',  natural  to  persons  who  had  few  or 


52  LIFE   AND   ADVENTURES   OF   DAVID   LEWIS, 

110  opportunities  at  liome  to  gratify  the  love  of  novelty  and  pleasure, 
they  were  surprised  into  sleep,  or  lost  in  amazement  at  the  "  new 
wonders  "  that  presented  themselves  to  their  astonished  senses  in  a 
fantastic  variety  of  shapes,  so  as  to  become  easy  objects  of  prey, 
and  innocent  subjects  for  plunder.  It  happened,  during  a  night  of 
performance,  on  which  we  counted  on  great  success,  in  consequence 
of  a  crowded  house  on  the  first  appearance  of  Cook,  the  celebrated 
English  actor,  in  some  new  and  interesting  character,  the  whole 
"band"  attended  to  a  man.  Our  hopes  were  not  disappointed, and 
Bob  Brimstone,  being  more  successful  than  the  rest,  and  maddened 
with  jo}"  at  his  good  luck,  having  become  intoxicated  with  liquor 
towards  the  close  of  the  entertainment,  and  infuriated  with  passion 
to  indulge  his  brutal  appetite,  had,  unknown  to  the  rest,  formed  the 
diabolical  plan  of  seizing  some  unprotected  female.  Fortune  seemed 
to  favor  his  criminal  design.  On  leaving  the  theatre,  he  observed 
a  young  lady  walking  alone  to  and  fro,  in  search  of  her  little  brother, 
who  had  accompanied  her,  and  whom  she  had  missed  in  the  crowd 
as  they  descended  the  steps  of  the  vestibule.  Having  offered  his 
assistance  to  find  the  lost  boy,  he  succeeded  in  enticing  her  into  an 
unfrequented  dark  alley,  where  no  voice  of  distress  could  be  heard, 
and  where,  unseen  by  human  eye,  he  meant  to  perpetrate  his  dread- 
ful purpose. 

Having  proceeded  up  the  alley  until  he  came  to  a  place  where  an 
opening  was  formed  by  two  large  warehouses,  which  had  been 
erected  within  three  feet  of  each  other,  he  seized  her  person  with 
ruffian  violence,  and  dragged  her  almost  half  way  through  this 
gloomy  passage,  when  he  proceeded  to  stop  her  mouth  by  thrusting 
a  handkerchief  down  her  throat.  The  poor  affrighted  female  ut- 
tered the  most  piercing  shrieks  that  ever  proceeded  from  the  voice 
of  despair,  but  all  her  cries  would  have  been  in  vain,  had  not  chance 
or  rather  an  ever  watchful  Providence  interposed,  by  directing  my 
steps  and  those  of  another  of  the  "  gang  "  to  return  home  through 
this  darksome  passage.  Hearing  the  cry  of  distress,  we  immedi- 
ately ran  to  the  spot  from  whence  it  came,  and  just  arrived  in  time 
to  save  youth,  beauty,  and  innocence  from  pollution  and  ruin. 

Having  extricated  the  unfortunate  female  from  the  grasp  of  the 
monster,  we  immediately  took  her  under  our  protection,  and  pre- 
l^ared  to  accompany  her  to  Greenwich  street,  in  which  her  parents 
resided.  She  continued  in  a  state  of  terror  and  distrust  until  we 
delivered  her  into  the  hands  of  her  father,  who  invited  us  into  the 
house,  and  overwhelming  us  with  the  strongest  expressions  of  grati- 


THE  ROBBER  AND  COUNTERFEITER.  53 

tucle,  insisted  upon  our  partaking  of  some  refreshments  before  we 
parted.  I  instantl}^  took  my  departure  home,  and  full  of  the  most 
pleasing  reflections  at  being  the  instrument  of  saving  this  beautiful 
and  interesting  girl  from  violence  and  defilement,  I  enjoyed  a  more 
sound  and  composed  sleep  that  night  than  I  had  done  for  man}' 
months  before. 

Melinda's  situation  not  permitting  us  to  travel  fa'=it,  we  did  not 
reach  New  Brunswick  until  the  third  day.  "We  continued  to  lodge 
at  the  stage  house  for  about  a  week,  when  I  rented  a  small  tenement 
in  the  outskirts  of  the  town,  and  having  procured  a  few  articles 
necessary  for  housekeeping,  we  moved  in. 

This  place  being  limited  in  population,  and  not  affording  many 
fruitful  sources  either  of  speculation  or  depredation,  I  was  obliged 
to  make  various  predatory  excursions  into  the  surrounding  country 
for  plunder  and  opportunities  to  pass  away  my  counterfeit  money. 
Experience  had  taught  me  the  necessity  of  prudence  and  caution, 
and  I  was  determined  upon  proceeding  with  the  utmost  vigilance. 
Having  learned  that  there  was  a  college  at  Princeton,  and  that  most 
of  the  students  were  from  the  southward,  I  concluded  that  in  a 
seminary  so  extensive  and  conspicuous,  there  must  be  many 
"  empty  heads  and  full  purses,"  especially  during  the  approaching 
Christmas  holidays,  when  most  of  the  students  were  in  the  habit  of 
receiving  large  supplies  of  cash  to  enable  them  to  indulge  in  the 
various  festivities  of  the  season.  As  soon  as  Melinda  was  able  to 
leave  her  room,  and  attend  to  her  domestic  concerns,  I  set  out  in 
the  first  stage  that  offered  for  Princeton,  and  having  assumed  the 
character,  the  airs,  and  consequence  of  a  Georgia  planter,  I  soon 
succeeded  in  introducing  mj'self  to  the  professors,  and  in  order  to 
further  my  schemes,  I  gave  out  that  my  object  was  to  procure  a 
berth  in  the  college  for  my  brother,  whose  arrival  I  expected  imme- 
diately after  the  expiration  of  the  holidays.  I  sought  every  oppor- 
tunity to  court  the  society  and  gain  the  good  opinion  of  the  young 
men  with  whom  I  had  contracted  an  acquaintance — passing  for  a 
man  of  fortune,  singing  a  good  song,  and  beins:  able  to  "  crack  a 
bottle  "  with  the  best  of  them,  I  was  invited  to  most  of  their  con- 
vivial parties,  at  which  cards  being  introduced,  I  was  a  voluntary 
loser  at  first,  and  apparently  plaj'^ed  with  so  much  carelessness  and 
ignorance,  that  the  poor  youths  began  to  boast  of  their  plucking 
the  *'  Georgia  pigeon,"  but  alas  1  in  less  than  three  nights,  during 
which  our  sittings  were  from  five  in  the  afternoon  mitil  five  o'clock 
in  the  morning,  I  not  only  recovered  all  I  had  lost,  but  won  at  least 


54  LIFE    AND    ADVENTURES   OF   DAVID   LEWIS, 

three  hundred  dollars  of  the  money  which  their  foolish  parents  had 
remitted  them.  Our  place  of  rendezvous  was  a  back  chamber  in 
the  most  retired  part  of  the  tavern,  and  the  obliging  landlord  usually 
watched  the  door  like  a  faithful  "  Cerberus  "  to  prevent  intrusion, 
and  hinder  us  from  the  observation  of  the  citizens  of  the  village, 
and  the  detection  of  the  masters  in  the  college.  In  the  forepart  of 
the  night  I  alwa3'S  managed  to  lose  more  than  any  other,  but  after 
supper,  when  the  heads  of  these  silly  youths  were  heated  with  the 
fumes  of  liquor,  which  they  generally  drank  to  great  excess,  and  in 
which  I  encouraged  them  as  much  as  possible,  they  became  elevated 
by  their  former  success  and  good  luck,  played  unguardedly  and  bet 
high,  of  which  I  did  not  neglect  to  take  advantage,  and  frequently 
left  the  table  with  my  pockets  well  stored  with  the  fruits  of  my 
victory.  I  cannot  reflect  on  my  Princeton  adventures  without  re- 
marking the  very  improper  conduct  of  parents  and  guardians  in 
furnishing  youth  at  colleges  with  such  liberal  supplies  of  money,  as 
is  generally  done.  No  seminary  can  flourish  where  such  a  prjictice 
is  persisted  in ;  no  sj-stem  of  discipline  can  reach  the  evil ;  and 
while  the  exertions  of  the  master  are  defeated  by  the  acts  of  the 
parent,  the  hopes  of  the  parent  are  disappointed ;  and  when  he  em- 
braces his  son  on  return  from  college,  he  finds  him  often  not  only 
unimproved  in  his  education,  but  ruined  in  his  health  and  corrupted 
in  his  morals. 

As  soon  as  the  college  recess  was  over,  I  left  Princeton  and  went 
to  Philadelphia,  with  my  pockets  full  of  money  and  my  head  full 
of  schemes.  I  did  not  remain  long  in  so  populous  a  place,  before  I 
discovered  many  persons  of  the  same  stamp  as  myself.  Whilst  my 
money  remained  I  did  not  think  of  any  new  enterprise,  but  my  as- 
sociates taking  advantage  of  my  generous  disposition,  practiced 
every  ai-t  that  ingenuity  suggested  to  trick  me  out  of  the  greater 
part  of  it.  I  continued  in  Philadelphia  two  weeks,  rioting  in  every 
scene  of  dissipation  that  my  own  vicious  inclinations  and  the  free 
use  of  money  could  procure.  Necessity  at  length  compelled  me  to 
resort  to  mj-  old  plans,  and  the  same  system  of  midnight  depreda- 
tions, robberies  and  pocket-picking  was  pursued  here  as  in  New 
York.  I  was  very  near  embarking  in  a  plan,  which  if  it  had  suc- 
ceeded would  have  enabled  me  to  renounce  my  present  course  of 
life  forever.  It  was  to  decoy  the  rich  French  banker,  Mr.  Girard, 
out  of  the  city  into  the  country,  and  keep  him  in  confinement  until 
he  gave  checks  on  his  own  and  other  banks  to  a  large  amount.  If 
this  failed,  we  intended  to  enter  the  Dock  street  sewer  and  contrive 


THE  ROBBER  AND  COUNTERFEITER.  55 

to  open  a  communication  underground  with  the  banking  house,  and 
thus  rob  the  vaults.  But  luckily  for  Mr.  Girard,  before  the  time 
ripened  for  action,  I  received  a  letter  from  Melinda,  advising  me  of 
the  dangerous  illness  of  my  little  daughter,  and  entreating  me  to  re- 
turn to  New  Brunswick  without  delay.  I  was  therefore  obliged  to 
give  up  the  enterprise  for  the  time,  and  leaving  my  companions  in 
great  wrath  at  my  abandoning  them  at  so  critical  a  period,  returned 
home  with  scarcely  fifty  dollars  of  good  money  at  my  command. 
After  remaining  with  Melinda  about  four  weeks,  during  which  my 
purse  became  lighter  every  day,  I  determined  upon  going  to  the 
lines,  to  procure  some  situation  in  the  army,  under  the  command  of 
Gen.  Alexander  Smj^th. 

Having  prepared  Melinda's  mind  for  leaving  her,  I  took  my  de- 
parture for  the  north,  in  better  spirits  than  I  expected  I  should 
have  done,  when  my  mind  dwelt  upon  the  forlorn  condition  in  which 
I  should  leave  a  beloved  wife  and  an  engaging  infant. 

Hope  still  buoyed  me  up  with  visionary  schemes,  and  the  expec- 
tation of  plunder  and  boot}',  which  I  promised  myself  when  the 
army  should  make  its  entry  into  Canada,  tended  much  to 
drive  away  present  melancholy  reflections.  On  my  way  to 
the  lines  I  met  with  companions  as  vicious  and  fond  of  pleasure 
as  m3'self,  and  stopping  at  a  wretched  inn  on  the  road,  kept  on 
purpose  for  the  entertainment  of  gamblers  and  black-legs,  I  spent 
several  days  and  nights  in  uninterrupted  scenes  of  carousal,  gaming 
and  drinking.  My  companions  being  old  acquaintances,  had  formed 
a  league,  and  entered  into  a  conspiracy  to  cheat  me  at  cards  of  all 
my  mone^'.  They  succeeded  in  tricking  me  out  of  the  remains  of 
my  ill-gotten  cash,  and  on  the  morning  of  the  fourth  day  I  decamped 
at  daybreak,  leaving  them  to  pa}'  the  landlord  m}'-  share  of  the  bill. 
After  traveling  about  fifty  miles  more,  with  an  empty  purse  and  a 
hungr}'  stomach,  I  applied  to  a  wealthy  farmer  for  employment, 
who  agreed  to  hire  me  for  a  teamster.  I  did  not  remain  long  at 
the  occupation,  before  my  employer's  team  was  pressed  into  the 
service  of  the  United  States  army,  I  accordingly  drove  the  wagon 
to  the  lines  with  a  detachment  of  troops,  on  the  way  to  join  the 
army  under  the  command  of  Gener.al  Alexander  Smyth.  On  our 
arrival  at  the  place  of  destination,  I  had  man}''  opportunities  of  in- 
dulging all  my  vicious  propensities,  and  frequently  plundered  both 
officers  and  men  of  their  money  and  property.  The  bustle  of  a 
camp  amused  me  for  some  time,  but  the  delay  in  crossing  the  lines, 
occasioned  by  General  Smyth's  strange  conduct,  created  so  much 


56  LIFE   AND   ADVENTURES   OF   DAVID   LEWIS, 

dissatisfaction,  that  I  was  not  sorry,  eager  as  I  was  to  plunder  the 
enemy,  when  the  campaign  ended.  The  war  at  this  time  was  noth- 
ing here  but  a  war  of  "  Proclamations,"  and  the  failure  of  the  expe- 
dition produced  nothing  but  expense  to  the  government,  and 
laughter  among  the  officers  and  soldiers  of  the  army  at  the  crazy 
behaviour  and  "  bombastic  style "  of  the  commanding  General. 
Having  received  from  the  commanding  officer,  or  wagon-master,  a 
certificate  of  the  number  of  days  employed  in  the  public  service,  I 
prepared  to  return,  but  a  sudden  thought  entering  my  head  of  going 
off  with  m}"-  employer's  wagon  and  horses,  I  yielded  to  the  tempta- 
tion, and  changing  the  direction  of  my  route,  steered  for  the  AUe- 
ghenj^  Mountains,  in  Pennsylvania,  whose  scattered  population  and 
numerous  caverns  and  breaks  afforded  various  coA'^erts  and  hiding 
places  for  criminals  and  fugitives.  I  parted  with  my  wagon  and 
team  as  soon  as  I  could  procure  a  purchaser,  but  the  mone}^  I  never 
returned  to  my  employer.  Whenever  I  thought  of  this  unsuspect- 
ing, honest  man,  who  had  misplaced  in  me  so  much  confidence,  the 
recollection  of  my  ungrateful  conduct  for  a  long  time  occasioned 
me  many  a  pang.  "I  was  a  stranger  and  he  took  me  in,  hungry 
and  he  fed  me,  naked  and  he  clothed  me,"  but  guilt  has  no  memory 
for  kindness,  and  I  forgot  them  all  in  my  wretched  pursuit  of  means 
to  gratify'ray  sensual  desires,  I  need  not  mention  the  name  of  this 
benevolent  man,  but  should  he  be  living  and  these  pages  ever  fall 
into  his  hands,  he  will  certainly  discover  that  the  unfortunate  David 
Lewis,  and  the  person  who  betrayed  his  trust,  under  the  fictitious 
name  of  Peter  Yanbeuren,  are  one  and  the  same  person.  As  soon 
as  I  thought  it  safe  to  exchange  the  solitude  of  the  dark  cavern  for 
the  more  busy  haunts  of  man,  I  repaired  to  Stoystown,  where  I  met 
with  an  old  acquaintance  who  had  fled  from  justice.  Being  ac- 
quainted with  my  wife,  he  very  abruptly  communicated  to  me  the 
first  intelligence  of  the  death  of  this  amiable  and  unfortuliate  woman, 
who  had  died  leaving  an  infant  daughter,  who  survived  her  unhappy 
mother,  and  bore  the  name  of  Kesiah,  agreeably  to  the  last  request 
she  ever  made.  The  unexpectedness  of  the  news,  and  the  unfeeling 
manner  in  which  the  intelligence  was  conveyed,  brought  tears  to 
my  e)'es  and  sorrow  to  my  heart. 


THE   ROBBER   AxND   COUNTERFEITER.  57 


CHAPTER  VI. 


Renews  his  Connectiou  with  Couuterfeiters — Visits  Chambersburg — Falls  in 
Love  with  a  Fayette  County  Girl — The  Cave  Retreat — Open,  Susanna, 
Open — Rifles  the  Pockets  of  his  Partners — Buries  the  Money  and  Never 
Finds  it — Meets  his  Affianced  and  is  Married — Visits  Emmitsbvirgh,  Mary- 
land, and  Shippensburg,  Pa. — Meets  Mr,  Martin  on  the  Walnut  Bottom 
Road — Tries  to  Pass  Counterfeit  Money — Escapes  from  Carlisle — Exhibits 
Himself  as  a  Beacon  to  Others — Returns  to  the  Home  of  his  ^lother — Re- 
news his  Relation  as  a  Counterfeiter — Returns  to  Cumberland  County — 
Where  he  and  his  Partners  Make  Counterfeit  Money — Passes  off  $100  note 
at  Landisburg  and  at  Newville — Passing  through  Roxbury,  Strasburg  and 
Fannettsburg  and  exchanges  $1,000  More — Reaches  Bedford — Is  Arrested — 
Sent  to  the  Penitentiary — Is  Pardoned — Resolutions  Broken — Falls  in  with 
his  Usual  Bad  Company — Robs  a  Mr.  McClelland  and  is  Arrested — Breaks 
Jail — Escapes  to  Doubling  Gap — Thence  to  York  County — Returns  to  Cum- 
berland— Raid  on  Mr.  Bashore's  Residence — Is  Taken  a  Prisoner  and 
Lodged  in  Carlisle  Jail — Is  Taken  to  Chambersburg — Is  rather  Severe  on 
County  Officials — Escapes  from  Jail — Returns  to  Doubling  Gap — Concludes 
to  Rob  Mr.  Sharpe,  David  Sterrett  and  Mr.  McKeehan — Tries  it  on  Mr. 
McKeehan  but  his  "Heart  Fails  "  him. 


~l  TAD  I  now  obeyed  the  dictates  of  conscience,  I  would  have 
-^ — ■-  quit  the  thorny  path  of  guilt  forever,  and  traveled  the  remain- 
der of  my  life  in  the  road  of  virtue.  The  violence  of  my  distress 
continued  for  some  time,  and  my  heart  being  softened  with  sorrow, 
I  had  nearly  gained  a  victory  over  myself,  when  my  companion 
succeeded,  by  ridiculing  my  grief,  in  getting  me  to  connect  myself 
again  with  a  gang  of  counterfeiters,  who  had  secreted  themselves 
in  a  retired  part  of  the  mountain,  not  far  from  town.  After  joining 
the  band,  I  was  prevailed  on  to  go  to  Chambersburg  to  procure 
paper  suitable  for  the  purpose  from  Mr.  John  Shr3^ock,  who  is  con- 
cerned in  a  paper  mill  near  that  place.  Owing  to  m}*  suspicious 
appearance,  or  some  regulation  among  cautious  and  honest  paper 
makers,  Shryock  refused  to  sell  me  any,  and  in  consequence  of  his 
refusal,  I  was  obliged  to  go  to  a  paper  mill  in  Virginia,  carrying 
with  me  a  "  sample  "  of  Shryock's  manufacture,  which  I  i)icked  off 
the  table  while  he  had  turned  round  to  speak  to  some  person  who 


58  LIFE    AND    ADVENTURES   OF   DAVID   LEWIS, 

had  entered  the  apartment.  Having  procured  a  stock  of  paper, 
made  agreeably  to  the  sample  furnished,  I  returned  to  m}^  comrades 
in  the  mountain,  where  we  went  to  work  and  struck  a  number  of 
impressions  of  different  denominations.  As  is  usually  done  among 
counterfeiters,  we  made  an  equal  divide  of  the  false  notes,  and  then 
separated  t^  pass  them  off  in  the  exchange  of  horses  and  other  prop- 
erty. Some  of  my  companions  went  into  the  neighboring  States  of 
Virginia  and  Ohio,  while  I  preferred  Bedford,  Somerset,  Uniontown 
and  Brownsville.  In  these  towns,  and  the  counties  in  which  they 
are  situated,  I  was  very  successful  in  passing  away  and  exchanging 
my  bad  money,  and  escaped  detection  in  such  a  wonderful  manner, 
that  made  me  bolder  as  I  became  more  guilty  and  criminal.  There 
is  such  a  chain  and  connection  among  counterfeiters  and  robbers 
in  Pennsylvania,  and  other  States,  and  so  numerous  are  their  ac- 
complices and  secret  friends,  that  it  is  not  easy  to  discover  or  ap- 
prehend them.  In  traversing  Faj-ette  county,  I  became  acquainted 
with  a  3'oung  woman  who  bore  so  striking  a  resemblance  to  my  de- 
ceased wife,  that  I  determined  upon  paying  my  addresses  to  her,  and 
her  alone,  if  ever  I  changed  my  condition  ;  but  my  thoughts  were 
chiefly  occupied  then  about  returning  to  my  comrades  in  the  moun- 
tains, all  having  agreed  to  meet  at  the  cave  at  a  time  previously 
fixed  upon.  At  the  expiration  of  the  stipulated  period,  I  prepared 
for  my  return,  and  joined  my  companions  as  soon  as  I  could,  with- 
out meeting  with  any  serious  accident  or  interruption.  In  order 
to  guard  against  intrusion,  and  protect  us  from  the  unwelcome 
visits  of  the  officers  of  justice,  of  whom  we  were  in  constant  dread, 
there  was  a  door  in  the  cave,  which  we  called  "  Susanna,"  and  on 
the  approach  of  any  of  the  gang,  the  signal  for  entry  was,  "  open, 
Susanna,  open;"  as  soon  as  these  words  were  uttered,  any  of  the 
party  who  happened  to  be  within  acknowledged  the  signal  by  cry- 
ing out,  "Susanna  is  at  home."  Unfortunately  I  happened  to  be 
detained  by  sickness  on  the  road,  and  did  not  arrive  at  the  ap- 
pointed time.  As  soon  as  I  gained  admittance,  I  found  all  of  my 
comrades  in  the  cave,  and  the  first  salutation  which  greeted  my 
ears,  convinced  me  that  something  was  wrong.  I  was  accused  of 
loitering  away  my  time  with  the  view  of  spending  the  money  of  the 
company,  or  concealing  it.  I  denied  the  charge,  which  brought  on 
a  quarrel,  that  nearly  came  to  blows ;  and  while  my  companions 
were  in  a  deep  sleep,  I  quietly  and  silently  left  them  about  mid- 
night, carrying  with  me  not  only  the  spoils,  which  I  had  made  my- 
self, out  of  my  various  exchanges,  but  I  rifled  the  pockets  of  my 


THE  ROBBER  AND  COUNTERFEITER.  59 

partners  of  all  their  ill-gotten  contents,  thinking  it  a  light  punish- 
ment, and  one  which  they  deserved,  for  their  unjust  suspicions  of 
m}-  honesty. 

In  this  manner  I  became  possessed  of  a  very  considerable  sum 
in  bank  notes,  which  I  determined  upon  securing  to  enable  me  to 
abandon  forever  the  villains  with  whom  I  had  connected  myself, 
quit  the  present  course  of  life,  in  which  I  had  been  so  long  engaged, 
make  a  provision  for  m3'self  and  family,  and  follow  some  industri- 
ous mode  of  livelihood.  But  my  scheme  was  frustrated  b}'  my  own 
foil}'.  Having  taken  with  me  a  black  bottle  filled  with  whiskey  to 
refresh  me  in  my  flight,  as  soon  as  it  was  emptied  I  put  in  it  nearly' 
all  m^-  notes,  which  filled  it  up  to  the  neck,  and  about  twent.y  miles 
from  the  cave  I  dug  a  hole  in  the  most  retired  part  of  the  mountain, 
and  buried  my  bottle ;  but  bottle  or  notes  I  was  never  able  to  find 
again,  though  I  made  frequent  unsuccessful  searches  for  them.  In 
my  hurry  I  was  not  careful  to  mark  the  spot  with  sufficient  precis- 
ion to  enable  me  to  discover  it  again;  and  thus  was  my  ill  acquired 
wealth  lost  to  me,  to  m}-  family,  and  to  societ}- ,  unless  some  person 
ma}'  have  the  good  luck  to  come  across  it,  an  object  worthy  of 
search,  and  the  contents  sufficientl}^  large  and  valuable  to  reward 
the  fortunate  finder. 

I  pursued  my  journey,  or  rather  flight,  through  Fayette,  and 
chance,  or  destiny  throwing  me  again  into  the  society  of  the  young 
woman  whom  I  had  met  before,  and  with  whom  I  was  so  much 
pleased,  I  resolved  upon  remaining  a  few  daj^s  with  her,  and  if  I 
found  her  possessed  of  a  good  disposition,  I  determined  upon  unit- 
ing m}'  fate  with  hers  in  the  connubial  state.  Her  countenance  was 
an  index  of  her  heart ;  she  was  as  amiable  as  she  was  lovely,  and 
perceiving  that  she  received  my  visits  with  an  encouraging  famil- 
iarity, I  soon  declared  my  intentions  of  matrimony',  and  we  were 
joined  in  wedlock.  After  sta3'ing  with  her  three  days,  I  concluded 
upon  returning  to  my  mother  in  Centre  county,  to  procure  a  home 
for  her  there,  until  I  could  go  to  Philadelphia  for  my  little  children, 
whose  uncertain  fate  and  desolate  condition  wrung  my  heart  with 
all  the  anguish  and  anxiety  which  a  tender  parent  cannot  but  feel 
on  such  an  occasion.  To  prevent  apprehension  and  avoid  suspi- 
cion, I  crossed  over  into  Virginia,  and  proceeded  to  Emmittsburgh 
in  the  State  of  Maryland.  Being  fatigued  with  walking  so  far,  I 
stole  a  small  mare  out  of  a  field  in  the  neighborhood  of  this  town, 
and  rode  to  Shippensburg  with  the  expectation  of  meeting  an  old 
acquaintance  and  accomplice,  whom  I  had  known  in  Berlin,  and 


60  LIFE    AND   ADVENTURES   OF   DAVID   LEWIS, 

•svho,  I  understood,  had  gone  to  reside  there.  Being  misinformed, 
I  continued  m}^  journey  through  Cumberland,  and  on  my  way  hap- 
pened to  call  at  a  little  store  kept  by  a  man  of  the  name  of  Martin, 
on  the  Walnut  Bottom  Road. 

Drunkenness  was  b}'  no  means  my  destroying  sin,  or  prevailing 
vice,  but  though  I  was  seldom  intoxicated  to  excess,  I  would  oc- 
casionally indulge  in  drink  more  than  I  wished  to  do,  when  I  hap- 
pened to  mix  in  compan}^  with  persons  of  jovial  dispositions,  and  I 
would  sometimes  find  myself  under  the  necessity  of  drowning  the 
clamors  of  remorse  and  the  stings  of  conscience  in  the  flowing 
bowl  and  sparkling  glass.  The  morning  on  which  I  left  Shippens- 
burg,  I  fell  in  with  company  at  a  tavern  on  the  road,  and  drank 
freely;  by  the  time  I  arrived  at  Martin's  my  ideas  were  in  a  state 
of  confusion,  and  my  usual  caution  and  cunning  being  stupefied 
with  liquor,  I  offered  him  in  payment  for  some  article  I  proposed 
buying  some  of  my  counterfeit  notes,  and  acted  with  such  impru- 
dence in  the  negotiation,  as  was  sufficient  to  create  suspicion  in  the 
mind  of  a  man  even  more  stupid  than  Martin.  On  being  charged 
with  passing  bad  money  I  denied  the  charge,  and  confirmed  the  de- 
nial with  the  strongest  assertions  of  innocence,  and  in  the  heat  of 
argument  foolishly  proposed  accompanj'ing  him  to  town,  to  submit 
the  notes  to  the  inspection  and  decision  of  the  officers  of  the  Car- 
lisle Bank.  Martin  consented,  and  we  rode  together  to  town,  and 
went  in  company  to  the  Bank.  "When  the  notes  were  laid  before 
the  cashier  and  clerk,  they  both  agreed,  after  a  minute  inspection, 
in  pronouncing  them  counterfeits,  and  on  refusing  to  give  them  up, 
I  began  to  think  that  the  affair  might  end  more  seriously  than  I 
expected.  Some  one  proposed  our  going  to  M'Ginnis'  tavern,  to 
examine  further  into  the  matter,  whither  we  went,  accompanied  by 
the  bank  officers.  After  undergoing  a  strict  examination,  and  dis- 
covering from  the  winks  that  passed  between  the  Colonel  and 
Martin  that  they  intended  to  arrest  me,  I  concluded  that  my  only 
chance  of  escape  was  to  get  off  by  means  of  some  trick,  which  I 
thought  I  could  practice  upon  them  with  success,  as  they  all  ap- 
peared to  be  "  green  hands  "  at  catching  a  rogue.  After  making 
many  protestations  of  innocence,  and  offering  to  confirm  my  decla- 
rations by  the  testimony  of  a  respectable  gentleman,  an  acquain- 
tance of  mine,  then  in  town,  I  was  permitted  to  go  in  search  of 
him,  alone,  and  unattended  by  a  constable,  or  any  one.  I  made 
the  best  use  of  the  liberty  they  imprudently  gave  me,  and  after 
turning  Reitzel's  corner  iu  Hanover  street,  walked  off  with  a  quick 


THE  ROBBER  AND  COUNTERFEITER.  61 

step  until  I  came  to  Blain's  cave,  where  I  remained  that  night, 
and  the  next  morning  as  soon  as  it  was  day,  proceeded  on  foot 
for  Centre  county,  having  left  the  mare,  which  I  had  stolen  near 
Emmittsburg,  in  the  possession  of  Martin. 

I  can  have  no  motive  or  inducement  in  my  present  situation, 
when  I  expect  so  shortly  to  leave  a  wicked  world,  and  appear  be- 
fore the  "  great  judge  of  all  the  earth  "  to  answer  for  the  deeds 
done  in  the  body,  to  close  my  life  with  a  lie  upon  my  lip.  Alas  1 
I  have  already  sinned  so  much  against  heaven  and  earth,  against 
God  and  my  country,  that  the  only  reparation  I  can  make  to  so- 
ciety is  to  give  a  full  disclosure  or  confession  of  all  my  manifold 
crimes  and  offences ;  nor  do  I  think  the  atonement  would  be  com- 
plete unless  I  strip  the  veil  from  my  heart,  expose  every  secret  in- 
tention, and  declare  with  truth  and  candor,  not  only  all  my  wicked 
criminal  acts,  but  all  the  plans,  purposes,  and  schemes  which  were 
from  time  to  time  contemplated  and  agitated, and  which  I  and  the  rest 
of  the  different  bands  with  whom  I  associated  were  prevented  from 
executing  by  the  special  interference  of  a  kind  Providence,  who 
sta3-ed  our  uplifted  hands  from  committing  many  crimes,  interpos- 
ing various  unexpected  obstacles,  which  either  I  could  not  account 
for  at  the  time,  or  attributed  to  chance  or  accident.  If  no  other  ad- 
vantage will  be  derived  from  this  disclosure,  I  trust  it  will  have  the 
effect  of  deterring  youth  and  others  from  adopting  or  persevering 
in  the  same  course  of  life  in  which  I  embarked ;  and  if  by  exhibit- 
ing myself  as  a  beacon,  I  can  warn  others  from  the  dangerous  shoals 
on  which  I  have  shipwrecked  my  own  happiness  and  peace  of 
mind,  I  shall  consider  myself  fully  repaid  for  the  painful  exertion 
I  now  make. 

When  I  look  back  upon  my  ill-spent  life,  and  endeavor  to  discover 
the  cause  or  source  from  which  all  my  misfortunes  and  crimes  have 
sprung  and  proceeded,  I  am  inclined  to  trace  their  origin  to  the 
want  of  early  instruction.  Had  my  widowed  mother  been  pos- 
sessed of  the  means  of  sending  me  to  school,  and  afforded  me  the 
opportunity  of  profiting  by  an  education,  the  early  part  of  my 
j'outh,  instead  of  being  engaged  in  idle  sports  and  vicious  pursuits, 
might  have  been  employed  in  the  studies  of  useful  knowledge,  and 
m}'  mind  by  this  means  have  received  an  early  tendency  to  virtue 
and  honesty,  from  which  it  would  not  afterwards  have  been  diverted : 
but  alas !  she  was  poor,  and  the  Legislature  of  Pennsylvania — I 
blush  with  indignation  when  I  say  it — had  made  no  provision,  nor 
has  she  yet  made  any  adecj[uate  one,  for  the  gratuitious  education 


62  LIFE   AND   ADVENTURES   OF   DAVID   LEWIS, 

of  the  children  of  the  poor.  Until  this  is  done,  and  schools  are 
established  at  the  public  expense  for  teaching  those  who  are  with- 
out the  means  of  paying  for  instruction,  ignorance  will  cover  the 
land  with  darkness,  and  vice  and  crime  run  down  our  streets  as  a 
mighty  torrent. 

After  my  expedition  on  the  lines,  I  became  disgusted  with  mili- 
tary life,  and  gave  up  every  view  of  enlisting  again ;  the  dis- 
appointments, vexations,  and  terrors  I  experienced  in  my  associa- 
tions with  the  counterfeiting  gang,  who  had  fixed  their  establish- 
ment near  "  Stoj^stown,"  and  the  risk  I  ran  in  being  apprehended 
by  the  officers  of  the  Carlisle  Bank  for  my  attempt  to  pass  the 
counterfeit  money  with  Martin,  increased  my  anxiety  to  visit  my 
mother  and  brothers.  After  leaving  Carlisle  I  acted  with  caution, 
and  refrained  from  committing  any  depredation  on  the  road  to  my 
mother's.  My  relations  received  me  with  a  better  welcome  than  I 
had  any  reason  to  expect,  and  while  they  expressed  their  satisfac- 
tion at  seeing  me,  they  renewed  all  their  arguments  in  the  most 
friendly  and  persuasive  style  to  impress  my  mind  with  the  wicked- 
ness and  dangers  of  the  course  of  life  I  was  following.  They  almost 
persuaded  me  to  settle  and  become  industrious  and  sober;  but  the 
bad  habits  I  had  contracted  in  the  army,  together  with  my  natural 
disposition  for  rambling,  predominated  over  their  good  advice,  and 
renewing  my  acquaintance  with  some  of  my  late  companions  in 
arms,  who  had  been  to  Canada,  I  readily  entered  into  their  service, 
and  having  procured  the  necessary  material  for  counterfeiting,  I 
became  a  partner  in  this  tempting  species  of  fraud.  The  period 
was  extremely  propitious  for  the  success  of  the  project.  The  Leg- 
islature of  Penns3-lvania  had  recently  established  by  law  a  great 
number  of  new  banks  in  every  part  of  the  State,  which  we  and  many 
others  considered  little  better  than  a  legalized  system  of  fi'aud, 
robbery  and  swindling.  Determined  upon  seizing  the  golden  op- 
portunity of  making  our  fortunes,  we  returned  to  Cumberland  and 
erected  a  small  hut  in  the  South  Mountain,  near  Mr.  Brewster's 
tavern,  and  boarding  at  a  gentleman's  house  in  the  vicinity,  we  pro- 
ceeded to  manufacture  all  sorts  and  sizes  of  counterfeit  bank  bills, 
but  principally  notes  on  the  "  Philadelphia  Bank,"  of  the  denomi- 
nation of  $100.  Having  struck  ofi"  what  we  supposed  to  be  a  suffi- 
cient number,  we  separated  for  the  purpose  ot  passing  them  off.  I 
proceeded  to  Landisburg,  where  I  passed  off"  a  $100  note  to  Mr. 
Anderson,  a  merchant  in  that  place ;  from  thence  I  went  to  New- 
ville,  where  I  succeeded  in  putting  off  another  note  of  the  same  de- 


THE  ROBBER  AND  COUNTERFEITER.  63 

scription  on  a  Mr.  Geese,  a  store-keeper  in  that  town.  I  was  ex- 
tremel}-  fortunate  in  both  eases,  not  only  in  procuring  change  in 
good  mone}',  but  in  walking  off  v/ith  the  booty  without  detection, 
or  even  suspicion.  At  that  time  city  money  was  scarce  and  in 
great  demand,  and  the  country  merchants  being  anxious  to  make 
their  remittances  in  city  notes,  seized  with  avidity  the  opportunity 
of  making  the  favorable  exchange,  and  never  took  time  to  examine 
whether  the  notes  were  genuine  or  not.  Passing  through  Roxbury, 
Strasburg  and  Fannettsburg,  I  exchanged  about  $1000  in  notes  of 
various  denominations,  purchased  a  horse  at  the  Burnt  Cabins — 
traded  him  off  for  a  better  one,  paying  the  difference  in  counterfeit 
notes,  and  in  this  manner  proceeded  to  Bedford,  where  after  several 
lucky  trades,  and  passing  ofl  a  number  of  spurious  bills,  I  found 
mj^self  in  possession  of  a  handsome  sum  of  money,  fifteen  hundred 
dollars  of  which  I  deposited  in  the  Bedford  bank,  and  sported  for 
some  time  on  the  residue,  when  wishing  to  make  a  bold  push,  and 
get  rid  of  all  my  counterfeit  stock,  mj^  imprudent  anxiet}'  occasioned 
suspicion,  and  I  was  arrested  and  imprisoned  on  the  charge  of  pass- 
ing counterfeit  money.*  I  could  easily  have  made  my  escape  from 
the  jail  of  Bedford,  but  Samuel  Riddle  and  Charles  Huston,  Esqs., 
the  lawyers  to  whom  I  gave  the  balance  of  money  to  clear  me,  flat- 
tered me  with  such  encouraging  assurances  of  acquittal  that  I  was 
induced  to  see  it  out.  After  remaining  in  jail  for  a  considerable 
time,  and  experiencing  all  the  painful  feelings  of  suspense,  my  trial 
was  ordered  on,  and  notwithstanding  the  zeal  and  exertions  of  my 
counsel,  I  was  found  guilty,  and  sentenced  to  ten  years  imprison- 
ment in  the  Penitentiary.  I  remained  here  about  a  year,  during 
which  time  I  began  to  have  serious  thoughts  of  reformation,  when 
the  powerful  intercessions  of  m}-  friends,  and  the  knowledge  I  had 
of  the  weak  side  of  Governor  Findlay  in  favoring  applications  of 
this  nature  suggested  a  pardon  as  the  best  means  of  restoring  me 
to  liberty.  As  I  expected,  his  excellenc}^  received  my  petition  for 
a  pardon  in  a  manner  that  gave  my  friends  no  doubt  of  the  success 
of  the  application  ;  and  they  did  not  remain  man}'  hours  in  suspense 
before  the  Secretary  delivered  them  a  paper  under  the  great  seal  of 
the  State,  granting  me  full  forgiveness  for  all  my  crimes,  and  a  com- 
plete remission  of  all  the  penalties  of  the  law.  After  I  left  Harris- 
burg,  I  went  to  Bedford  to  endeavor  to  get  back  some  of  my  money 
which  I  had  deposited  in  the  bank,  but  the  bank  officers  refusing 
mj-  checks  I  was  again  reduced  to  great  distress,  and  in  a  moment 

*See  commuuicatiou  of  G.  P.  L.,  in  Chapter  III. 


64  LIFE   AND   ADVENTURES   OF   DAVID   LEAVIS, 

of  despair,  was  very  near  putting  an  end  to  my  life,  when  I  fell  in 
with  one  Rumbaugh,  who  had  assumed  the  name  of  Connelly,  and 
a  man  who  called  himself  James  Hanson.  I  did  not  keep  their 
company  many  daj^s  before  they  persuaded  me  to  join  them  in  way- 
laj'ing  and  robbing  a  Mr.  M'Clelland,  whom  they  had  traced  from 
Pittsburg  to  Bedford,  and  who  they  found  out  was  to  pursue  his 
journey  to  Philadelphia  the  following  morning.  We  accordingly 
armed  ourselves  and  proceeded  to  a  tavern  within  a  few  miles  of 
Bedford,  in  a  lonely  place  in  the  woods,  where  we  drank  a  pint  of 
brandy ;  starting  on  a  few  rods  ahead  we  at  length  stopped,  and 
waited  in  the  woods  near  the  roadside  for  about  half  an  hour  with 
great  impatience,  until  Mr.  M'Clelland  came  in  view.  He  rode 
along  at  a  slow  pace  and  in  a  careless  manner,  until  he  had  got 
nearly  past  us,  when  Connelly,  jumping  out  of  the  thicket,  seized  his 
horse  by  the  bridle,  and  presenting  a  pistol,  told  him  if  he  made 
any  noise  he  would  shoot  him.  Hanson  and  myself  then  came  up 
and  held  his  legs  while  Connelly  led  his  horse  into  the  woods,  where 
we  took  from  him  his  money  in  the  manner  which  has  been  already 
stated  in  the  public  prints.  To  escape  detection  Connelly  and 
Hanson  proposed  to  make  away  with  him,  alleging  that  "  dead  men 
told  no  lies,"  but  I  peremptorily  refused,  and  told  them  if  they  did 
they  must  first  murder  me,  and  so  deterred  them  from  the  bloody 
act.  Having  secured  the  money  we  then  bent  our  course  towards 
Lewistown,  in  Mifflin  county,  intending  to  proceed  into  the  State 
of  New  York,  but  we  were  overtaken  two  miles  from  the  former 
place,  and  brought  back  to  Bedford.  It  may  not  be  improper  here 
to  state,  that  I  had  always  determined  never  to  stain  my  hands  with 
blood,  or  kill  any  one  except  in  self  defence,  but  I  would  certainly 
have  shot  Ephraim  Enser,  the  man  who  caught  me  after  I  had 
thrown  down  William  Price,  if  my  pistol  had  gone  off.  My  natural 
disposition  was  by  no  means  cruel ;  and  hearing  my  mother  read 
out  of  the  Bible  the  story  of  Cain  killing  his  brother  Abel,  when  I 
was  yel  a  child,  it  made  an  impression  on  my  young  and  tender 
heart  which  never  was  effaced. 

After  remaining  in  the  Bedford  jail  for  some  time,  and  finding 
the  usage  not  such  as  should  be  given  to  prisoners  in  our  condition, 
I  determined  on  an  escape,  and  accordingly  put  the  convicts  and 
prisoners  who  were  confined  with  me  on  a  plan  to  get  ofl,  which 
succeeded  to  my  full  expectation.  We  let  out  all  the  prisoners 
that  would  go,  excepting  an  ordinary  fellow  that  had  robbed  a  poor 
widow,  and  who  I  was  determined  should  be  left  behind  to  take 


TIIK    HOBBKH    AND   COUNTERFEITER.  65 

caro  of  the  jailer  and  bis  famil}^  whom  we  had  looked  up  in  the 
same  apartment  lately  occupied  by  us. 

Connell}'  and  myself  proceeded  along  the  mountains  to  Doubling 
Gap,  in  Cumberland  county,  where  we  came  across  an  old  acquaint- 
ance, and  remained  there  a  few  days,  and  then  went  to  Petersburg, 
in  Adams  county,  where  we  procured  some  clothing  and  other  nec- 
essaries, having  left  Bedford  in  a  very  destitute  condition.  After 
we  had  refreshed  ourselves,  and  recovered  from  our  fatigue,  we 
crossed  over  to  the  Conewago  hills  in  York  county,  and  having 
committed  several  petty  robberies  and  depredations,  we  directed 
our  course  into  East  Pennsboro,one  of  the  most  wealthy  and  pop- 
ulous German  settlements  in  Cumberland  county,  with  the  view  of 
robbing  some  of  the  rich  farmers  in  that  neighborhood.  Hearing 
that  Jonas  Roop  was  about  building  a  new  mill,  and  had  gathered 
a  good  deal  of  money  for  that  purpose,  we  lurked  about  in  the  vi- 
cinity for  some  time,  but  could  not  meet  with  a  favorable  opportu- 
nity to  accomplish  our  ends. 

We  next  visited  Krietzer's  tavern,  and  judging  from  the  large- 
ness of  his  barn  of  the  size  of  his  purse,  we  expected  to  be  more 
fortunate  with  him  than  we  had  been  at  Roop's,  but  we  were  again 
disappointed.  While  in  his  bar-room  we  heard  some  of  his  neigh- 
bors talk,  in  the  absence  of  Mr.  Krietzer,  of  his  not  having  one 
cent  for  every  dollar  in  the  possession  of  Mr.  Beshore,  who  was 
represented  as  having  more  ready  money  than  all  the  rest  of  his 
neighbors  put  together.  We  immediately  laid  our  plans  for  an  at- 
tack on  his  house,  and  would  certainl}-  have  succeeded,  but  for  the 
presence  of  mind  and  bravery  displayed  by  his  wife,  who  blew  a 
horn  to  alarm  the  neighborhood,  discovering  as  much  courage  on 
the  occasion  as  some  men,  and  more  I'esolution  than  any  other 
woman  I  ever  met  with. 

It  was  not  long  before  a  number  of  the  neighbors  came  to  her 
assistance,  and  Connelly,  snatching  up  a  rifle  which  stood  conve- 
nient in  the  house,  made  off,  while  I,  who  for  the  first  time  in  the 
last  five  years  became  intoxicated  to  excess,  was  taken  prisoner, 
and  after  being  secured  and  fastened,  some  cowardly  fellow  came 
up  and  struck  me  in  my  defenseless  condition.*     I  was  then  taken 

*  Samuel  McGaw,  Esq.,  of  Good  Hope,  gives  the  followiuij  as  a  tradition 
of  the  neighborhood  :  "  Au  old  resident  of  the  neighboihood,  named  Samuel 
Miller,  was  with  the  party  making  the  arrest.  After  they  were  arrested 
Miller  struck  with  his  fist  and  kicked  Lewis,  whereupon  Lewis  swore  that 
he  had  never  killed  a  man  in  his  life,  but  if  he  ever  had  an  opportunity  he 
would  kill  him  (Miller)." 

5 


60  LIFE    AND    AT)VENTURES    OP    DAVID    LEWIS, 

to  the  Carlisle  jail,  and  put  in  a  very  strong  room,  out  of  which  T 
saw  but  very  little  chance  of  escape ;  but  to  my  great  joy  and  sat- 
isfaction I  soon  heard  that  the  Sheriff  of  Bedford  count}^  had  come 
down  to  demand  me.  I  was  the  more  pleased  with  the  prospect  of  an 
exchange  of  prisons  from  the  dislike  I  took  to  the  jailer,  who 
seemed  to  be  a  very  surl}'  fellow,  and  always  looked  as  if  he  be- 
grudged the  prisoners  the  common  jail  allowance.  The  Sheriff  was 
not  successful  in  his  application,  but  upon  Alexander  Mahon  and 
William  Ramsay,  Esquires,  swearing  that  the  Carlisle  jail  was  not 
sufficiently  strong  to  hold  me,  I  was  ordered  to  be  taken  to  Cham- 
bersburg  by  Sheriff  Ritner,  whom  I  had  remembered  to  have  seen 
before,  while  following  an  occupation  for  whicli  he  was  much  bet- 
ter fitted  than  the  one  he  was  then  engaged  in.  In  conducting  me 
to  Chambersburg  Ritner  was  accompanied  by  a  young  man,  who  I 
think  was  called  Hendricks,  very  unlike  another  of  the  deputies 
who  assisted  in  bringing  me  from  Mechanicsburg  to  Carlisle  ;  his 
name  I  cannot  remember,  though  I  shall  not  forget  him  if  I  was  to 
live  a  thousand  years,  as  I  was  very  forcibly  struck  with  the  con- 
trast of  character  between  the  two  young  men,  for  while  the  for- 
mer was  modest  and  reserved,  and  never  plagued  me  with  imperti- 
nent questions,  the  other  was  continually  teasing  me  with  various 
inquiries  which  it  did  not  become  him  to  use  to  a  person  in  my  sit- 
Hation.  I  soon  discovered  that  his  silly  conduct  proceeded  from 
vanity,  and  that  he  had  a  great  desire  to  make  a  display  of  his 
learning  to  me,  for  he  was  constantly  pulling  out  of  his  pocket  a 
little  book,  which  I  took  for  a  pocket  dictionary,  to  find  out  the 
meaning  of  the  high  fiowing  words  he  made  use  of.  During  our 
travel  I  informed  the  Sheriff  that  I  had  met  him  before,  at  Millers- 
town,  on  the  Juniata,  when  Connelly  proposed  our  robbing  him, 
but  as  I  knew  he  made  no  profitable  sales  abroad,  nor  received  any 
collections,  I  concluded  he  could  have  no  money  about  him.  The 
fact  is,  nothing  would  have  pleased  me  better  at  the  time  than  to 
have  robbed  him,  as  I  had  long  heard  the  office  holders  of  Carlisle 
represented  to  be  a  hungry,  avaricious  set  of  extortioners,  whom 
no  sense  of  justice,  or  feeling  of  humanity  could  restrain  from 
grinding  the  poor. 

If  there  was  any  class  or  description  of  people  in  society  whom 
I  would  sooner  have  robbed  than  any  other,  it  was  those  who  held 
public  offices,  and  under  color  of  law  had  been  guilty  of  extortion  ; 
who  had  plundered  the  poor,  and  cheated  the  widow  and  the  or- 
phan.    Against  such  workers  of  iniquity  my  mind  had  taken  a  set, 


THE  UOBBKK  AND  COUNTERFEITER.  67 

and  I  was  determined  never  to  spare  them  on  any  occasion  tiiat 
offered.  The  groans  of  the  distressed,  the  cries  of  the  widow,  and 
the  comphiinings  of  the  oppressed  rang  in  my  ears,  and  called 
aloud  for  vengeance.  There  was  perhaps  no  place  in  the  State  in 
which  I  heard  more  complaints  of  this  sort  than  in  the  county  of 
Cumberland,  and  as  Carlisle  was  my  native  place,  for  which  I  felt  a 
strong  attachment,  instead  of  committing  a  wrong  I  conceived  that 
I  would  be  rendering  society  a  service  by  punishing  those  official 
marauders  who  infest  the  town,  in  visiting  upon  them  the  same  de- 
gree of  severity  which  they  had  visited  upon  others,  and  thus, 
"make  the  cruel  teel  the  pains  they  gave."  With  this  view,  I  at 
one  time  proposed  to  my  companions  that  we  should  abandon  the 
highways,  make  our  peace  with  offended  justice,  satisfy  the  penal- 
ties of  the  law,  reimburse  those  whom  we  had  robbed  and  wronged, 
move  into  town,  and  adopt  the  most  effectual  mode  of  bringing  ex- 
tortioners, bank  swindlers,  and  public  defaulters  to  justice,  and 
make  as  much  money  out  of  them  as  we  could.  Having  heard 
great  complaints  in  every  place  of  a  certain  act  of  Assembly  called 
the  Fee  Bill,  which  had  passed  in  the  session  of  1813-14,  I  pro- 
cured a  copy  of  the  law,  and  found  that  it  contained  a  provision, 
that  if  any  officer  shall  take  greater  or  other  fees  than  was  express- 
ed and  limited  for  the  service,  or  shall  charge,  or  demand  and  take 
any  fees  where  the  business  was  not  actually  done,  shall  charge  or 
demand  any  fee  for  any  service  or  services,  other  than  those  pro- 
vided for,  such  officer  shall  forfeit  and  pay  to  the  party  injured 
fifty  dollars,  to  be  recovered  as  other  debts.  I  thought  it  remark- 
able that  this  provision  (which  was  the  only  part  of  the  law  that 
had  an  eye  to  the  interest  and  security  of  the  people),  shoul(J,  re- 
main a  dead  letter,  and  that  few  instances  occurred  of  the  parties 
injured  resorting  to  it  for  redress.  I  knew  that  in  the  long  cata- 
logue of  public  officers,  there  were  but  few  exceptions  where  this 
part  of  the  act  had  not  been  infringed  upon,  and  where  sheriffs, 
prothonotaries,  clerks  of  the  sessions,  justices  and  constables  had 
not  incurred  the  penalty.  My  plan  was  to  proceed  regularly  through 
the  town  and  country,  procure  a  copy  of  the  multitudinous  suits 
spread  upon  their  dockets,  obtain  copies  of  their  respective  bills  of 
fees,  call  upon  the  parties  interested,  particularly  defendants,  make 
a  bargain  with  them  for  permission  to  bring  suits  in  their  names 
for  the  penalties,  and  that  I  should  receive  one-half  of  the  forfeit- 
ures for  my  trouble  and  expense.  But  Connellj'  opposed  the  scheme, 
alleging  that  the  number  of  public  officers  was  so  great — that  they 


68  LTFE    ANT)    APVENTURES   OF    BAVIP    LEWIS, 

formed  such  a  powerful  phalanx  in  societ}-,  and  possessed  so  much 
influence,  that  they  had  grown  so  cunning  from  the  long  time  they 
had  been  in  office,  they  would  be  able  to  defeat  all  the  humane  in. 
tentions  of  the  act.  The  project  was  in  this  way  abandoned,  very 
much  against  my  will. 

I  did  not  remain  long  in  confinement  before  I  tricked  Mr.  Leader, 
who  was  confident  I  would  not  leave  him.  My  escape  was  owing 
to  the  negligence  of  the  jailer,  who  in  his  hurry  to  see  a  fight  that 
was  going  on  in  the  street,  forgot  to  lock  the  door  of  the  last  room 
of  the  convicts,  contenting  himself  with  bolting  it ;  and  fastening 
the  little  wicket  door,  or  rather  window,  with  the  key  that  unlocked 
the  other  rooms,  he  omitted  to  return  and  secure  the  door  in  the 
usual  way.  During  the  day  the  prisoners  had  fixed  a  soaped 
string  over  the  top  of  the  door,  and  concealed  it  in  a  crack  on 
the  outside,  and  by  means  of  a  loop  or  slip  knot  they  succeeded 
in  pulling  out  the  key.  The  plan  succeeding  they  unlocked  the  door 
through  the  window  ;  having  thus  got  to  the  entry,  and  having  the 
necessary  key  to  open  the  door  of  the  room  in  which  I  was  confin- 
ed, I  was  in  this  manner  liberated,  and,  springing  the  lock  of  the 
door  leading  into  the  women's  apartment,  and  the  door  leading  from 
thence  into  the  yard,  as  well  as  that  of  the  gate  opening  into  the 
street,  luckily  I  and  four  other  criminals  effected  our  escape,  undis- 
covered by  anybody,  about  two  o'clock  in  the  morning.  We  pro- 
ceeded about  half  a  mile,  and  finding  my  hobbles  troublesome  we 
entered  a  pine  thicket,  where  by  means  of  an  axe  and  cold  chisel  I 
extricated  myself  from  the  irons.  While  thus  employed  we  heard 
distinctly  the  noise  of  the  town  bells,  which  were  ringing  on  the  oc- 
casfpn  to  alarm  the  inhabitants  and  rouse  them  to  pursuit,  and  could 
not  help  laughing  ver}^  heartily,  notwithstanding  the  terror  we  were 
in,  at  the  confusion  and  mortification  our  escape  must  produce 
among  the  wise  citizens  of  Chambersbui-g.  There  is  no  truth  in  the 
supposition  that  I  had  bribed  the  jailer,  or  gave  him  an}^  directions 
about  his  getting  fifteen  hundred  dollars,  which  it  was  said  I  had 
concealed  in  the  Pines,  south  of  the  Walnut  Bottom  Road.  I 
never  hid  any  money  there,  nor  promised  Mr.  Leader  an}^  bribe 
whatever.  He  always  treated  me  with  humanity  as  long  as  I  was 
his  prisoner,  and  is  wrongfully  accused,  if  any  body  suspects  my  es- 
cape was  owing  to  his  criminality.  We  remained  all  that  day  in  a 
rye  field,  and  at  night  pursued  our  course  to  Doubling  Gap.  Near 
this  place  is  a  cave  in  the  cleft  of  the  mountain,  formed  by  a  pro- 


THE  ROBBER  AND  COUNTERFEITER.  69 

jecting  rock,  and  here  we  remained  for  several  days.*  After  re- 
freshing ourselves,  and  I  had  succeeded  in  procuring  a  change  of 
clothes,  I  disguised  myself  as  well  as  I  could,  and  passing  for  a 
well-digger,  paid  frequent  visits  to  Newville,  especially  in  the  night. 
I  generally  took  a  round  through  all  the  taverns  to  learn  what  was 
going  on,  and  discover,  if  I  could,  which  of  the  inhabitants  had 
the  most  ready  money.  According  to  the  talk  of  those  I  met  with 
in  the  tavern,  I  was  led  to  believe  that  the  three  richest  men  in  that 
part  of  the  country  were  Mr.  Sharpe,  David  Sterrett,  and  an  old 
gentleman  of  the  name  of  Kehan,  or  McKeehan.  From  information 
I  received,!  rather  concluded  that  the  former  had  more  land  than 
money,  as  I  understood  he  was  in  the  habit  of  making  a  purchase 
of  property  every  year,  adding  house  to  house,  and  field  to  field  ; 
not  believing  Mr.  Sharp  to  have  by  him  as  much  cash  as  the  others, 
I  concluded  upon  robbing  Mr.  Sterrett ;  but  hearing  that  he  had  a 
short  time  before  deposited  all  his  money  in  the  new  bank  at  Car- 
lisle, and  in  consequence  of  its  stoppage  had  little  or  no  prospect  of 
getting  it  out  again,  and  learning  also  that  he  was  a  bond  buyer, 
and  had  disposed  of  all  his  ready  money  in  this  way,  I  despaired  of 
succeeding  with  him,  and  finally  fixed  upon  old  Mr.  Kehan  as  the 
surest  mark.  I  immediately  set  my  ingenuity  to  work  to  devise  the 
best  plan  for  accomplishing  my  purpose,  and  accordingly  intended 

*  Statement  of  R.  M.,  still  living  in  Doubling  Gap  in  1853. — "  When  Lewis 
was  here  he  generally  concealed  himself  in  the  cave  up  the  Gap.  Some 
rods  above  the  cave  is  a  beautiful  spring  that  breaks  out  more  than  half  way 
up  the  mountain,  which  is  about  sixteen  hundred  feet  high.  I  freciuently 
visited,  and  sometimes  stayed  with  him  at  the  cave.  We  had  the  stream 
running  from  the  spring  brought  to  the  mouth  of  the  cave.  Everything  was 
so  comfortably  arranged  in  and  about  the  cave,  that  it  was  quite  a  comfort- 
able home.       I  remamed  about  the  Gap  and  cave  some  six  or  eight  months, 

with  the  exception  of  a  few  short  intervals.     A  fiiend  named  K lived 

in  the  hollow  at  the  sulphur  spring,  in  a  small  house  that  he  built,  and  which 
we  called  our  tavern.  We  could  see  his  door  from  the  cave  ;  and  having  an 
understanding  with  "our  host,"  we  could  always  tell  when  there  was  any 
dunger,  as  on  such  occasions  he  would  hang  out  a  red  Hag.  If  all  was  clear,, 
and  It  was  considered  safe  to  come  down,  a  white  flag  was  hung  out.  There 
were  some  persons  iu  the  valley  who  were  our  friends  ;  one  particularly,  who 
was  an  endless  talker,  and  sometimes  talked  too  much.  Lewis  was  a  great 
favorite  with  the  ladies.  Some  of  them  used  to  furnish  us  with  the  comforts 
of  life,  and  several  times  visited  us  at  the  cave.  We  had  a  number  of  little 
parties  at  the  tavern,  and  had  great  times.  A  number  of  the  mountain  ladies 
would  come,  and  some  of  the  men,  and  we  would  every  now  and  then  have 
a  dance.  This  was  the  way  we  carried  on  whenever  Lewis  was  here.  The 
cave  was  neatly  fitted  up,  and  would  accommodate  five  of  us  comfortably ; 
there  was  just  that  number  of  us  acting  together  that  stayed  at  the  cave. 
We  did  not  rob  in  the  neighborhood  of  the  Gaj),  except  to  get  such  things  as 
were  necessary  for  us  to  live  on.  We  lived  on  what  we  got  in  this  way,  and 
what  was  brought  to  us,     I  shall  never  forget  the  kindness  of  the  people." 

6 


70  LIFE   AND   ADVENTURES   OF   DAVJD   LEWIS, 

to  waylay  him  on  Sunday  evening  as  be  returned  from  church.  I 
meant  to  carry  him  into  the  woods,  tie  him  and  threaten  him  with 
violence,  until  he  told  me  where  his  treasure  was  lodged  ;  on  ob- 
taining this  information,  my  plan  was  to  go  to  the  house  and  alarm 
the  family,  by  making  them  believe  that  I  had  just  left  the  old  man 
dying  in  the  road  about  a  mile  off,  and  that  he  had  begged  me  to 
send  every  one  of  them  to  him  directly ;  I  concluded  that  the  intel- 
ligence would  occasion  great  distress  and  confusion,  and  that  in 
their  absence  I  might  have  time  enough  to  rifle  his  chests,  and 
break  open  all  his  drawers. 

In  pursuance  of  this  premeditated  scheme,  I  iid  meet  the  old  man 
one  Sunday  afternoon  as  he  was  returning  home  from  church,  but 
my  heart  failed  me.  I  was  so  struck  with  his  venerable  form,  his 
benevolent  countenance,  his  republican  simplicity  of  manners,  and 
his  patriarchal  appearance,  that  I  became  confounded ;  my  feet  be- 
came riveted  to  the  ground,  my  tongue  motionless,  my  heart  ap- 
palled, and  my  eyes  fixed  in  amazement,  so  that  I  could  not  find 
courage  to  proceed  or  touch  him  with  the  finger  of  violence.  On 
meeting  him  in  the  highway'',  he  rode  on  after  bidding  me  good  day; 
when  he  had  passed  by  I  looked  back  at  him,  and  said,  what  is  the 
meaning  of  this?  Oh,  honesty!  there  is  sometimes  a  charm  even 
in  thy  external  appearance  sufficient  to  stay  the  hands  of  the  rob- 
ber himself  1  there  is  a  majesty  in  virtue  which  often  appals  vice 
itself,  and  strikes  the  gviilty  conscience  with  terror  and  dismay. 
I  returned  to  the  cave  that  evening  without  committing  au}'  depre- 
dation, and  slept  better  than  I  had  done  for  several  nights  before. 
Living  in  a  state  of  constant  dread  and  apprehension  of  being  re- 
taken, I  became  tired  of  the  cavern  and  determined  to  return  to  my 
old  haunts  in  East  Pennsboro,  to  seek  revenge  of  the  fellow  who 
had  struck  and  abused  me  after  I  was  tied,  when  I  was  taken  before. 
I  took  my  departure  from  the  cave  rather  abruptly,  leaving  behind 
several  articles  of  value,  particularly^  a  pair  of  pantaloons  and 
some  blankets.  If  they  have  fallen  into  the  hands  of  any  honest 
people  on  the  Big  Spring,  I  hope  they  will  not  daim  or  use  them, 
but  return  them  to  my  poor  wife  in  Philadelphia  the  first  opportu- 
nity that  offers. 


THE   ROBBER   AND   COUNTERFEITER. 


CHAPTER  Yll. 


Proposes  to  Rob  Jonas  Roop— Singular  Circumstance— Attempt  to  Rob  Con- 
rad Reininger— Is  Confronted  by  a  Dog  and  Belabored  with  a  Club— A 
Strauge  Presentiment — Last  Visit  to  Carlisle — Reminiscences  of  Boyhood 
Days — Conscience  at  "Work— Journeying  Towards  His  Mother's  Home- 
Recollection  of  Hidden  Money  Lost  in  the  Juniata — A  Load  of  Goods  Be- 
longing to  Hamilton  &  Page,  of  Bellefonte,  Captured — Attempts  to  Rob 
a  Store — Remorse— Fear — Distress — A  Terrific  Object,  a  Snake  with  Two 
Heads — Flight — Hunger's  Doings — Burning  Stolen  Goods — Shooting  Mark 
with  His  Pal— Are  Surrounded  by  a  Pursuing  Party — Are  Fired  Upon — Is 
Wounded — His  Associate,  Connelly,  Dies — Is  Arrested — His  Imprison- 
ment— Confession — End  in  Prison. 


ON  my  return  I  again  met  with  my  evil  genius,  Connelly,  who 
renewed  the  proposition  of  robbing  old  Jonas  Roop,  We  made 
several  attempts,  but  were  alwaj's  baffled.  Jonas  was  in  the  habit 
of  going  to  Harrisburg,  and  staying  late  in  the  company  of  Judge 
Bucher,  who  lived  near  the  bridge.  I  was  to  cross  over  to  the 
Harrisburg  side,  and  'Connell}^  to  remain  concealed  in  a  thick 
covert  of  woods  on  the  other  side,  near  the  road  leading  to  Mr. 
Koop's  house.  I  dogged  him  one  Saturday'  evening  in  particular, 
and  would  have  robbed  him  or  perished  in  the  attempt,  if  I  had 
not  discovered  from  his  conversation  with  Mr.  Bucher  that  he  kept 
no  cash  or  read}-  mone}^  in  his  house.  I  had  crept  slyly  up  the 
bank  to  the  engine  house  near  the  bridge,  and  getting  into  oue  of  the 
empty  boxes  that  lie  there,  I  could  distinctly  hear  all  that  passed 
without  danger  of  discover3\ 

If  it  had  appeared  that  Jonas  was  possessed  of  a  sufficient  sum  of 
mone}'  to  justify  the  risk,  our  plan  was  to  seize  him  after  he  had 
crossed  the  bridge  on  his  return  home,  in  some  suitable  part  of  the 
road  the  most  remote  from  any  house,  carry  him  into  some  thicket 
of  wood,  tie  him  and  his  horse  to  a  tree,  and  procure  from  him  the 
key  of  his  chest,  or  gain  intelligence  where  his  mouej'  was  hid,  and 
get  some  token  from  him  to  his  famil}',  enabling  us  to  deceive  them 
and  carry  off  the  spoil  without  difficulty  or  danger,  but  the  intelli- 
sence  I  gathered  from  the  conversation  between  him  and  Bucher 


72  LIFE   AND   ADVENTURES   OF   DAVID   LEWIS, 

convincing  me  that  Jonas  neither  carried  money  about  his  person 
nor  had  any  at  home,  compelled  me  to  abandon  the  scheme  alto- 
gether as  fruitless  and  vain. 

Being  thus  baffled  in  m}^  expectation  of  robbing  Mr.  Roop,  I  re- 
turned to  our  rendezvous  a  good  deal  disheartened  in  spirits,  and 
disturbed  in  mind  as  to  my  future  prospects  ; — reflections  on  the 
past  produced  only  disagreeable  and  painful  sensations,  and  antici- 
pation of  the  future  afforded  but  a  gloomy  prospective.  Possess- 
ing, however,  a  restlessness  of  disposition,  my  mind  could  not  re- 
main long  unoccupied,  without  engaging  in  some  new  scheme. 
Necessity,  too,  furnished  a  new  motive  for  action,  and  though  I 
generally  despised  pett}'  thefts  and  spring-house  depredations,  and 
wished  to  pursue  the  nobler  game  of  highway  robberies,  which 
while  they  were  more  profitable  were  better  calculated  to  make  a 
great  noise  in  the  world,  and  produced  a  temporary  eclat  flattering 
to  the  pride  of  one  who  had  gained  a  reputation  for  generosity  even 
in  his  crimes,  I  was  reduced  to  the  alternative  of  starving  in  the 
midst  of  plenty,  or  descending  to  the  expedient  of  committing  petty 
larcenies,  for  the  purpose  of  supplying  the  wants  of  nature.  I  did 
not  hesitate  long  before  I  chose  the  latter,  and  in  one  of  my  pre- 
datory excursions,  I  discovered  on  the  farm  of  Mr.  Conrad  Rein- 
inger,  a  wealthy  and  respectable  German,  a  web  of  home-made  cloth 
lying  in  an  exposed  situation.  The  temptation  was  too  powerful 
for  one  in  my  distressed  case  to  occasion  hesitation  or  delay  in 
seizing  the  valuable  prize  the  first  favorable  moment  that  offered. 
I  made  the  attempt  accordingly,  as  soon  as  the  stillness  and  dark- 
ness of  night  rendered  it  safe ;  but  darkness  and  night  do  not 
alwaj^s  afford  a  cover  for  crime  or  a  mantle  for  iniquit}' ;  I  was  sur- 
prised in  the  attempt  to  cany  it  off,  was  pursued  in  my  flight, 
and  finally  overtaken.  My  pursuers  were  accompanied  by  a  large 
dog,  whose  fierceness  and  speed  exceeded  anything  of  the  kind  I 
ever  witnessed  before,  for  just  as  I  was  in  the  act  of  clearing  the 
fence,  the  dog  came  up,  seized  me  by  the  shoulders,  drew  me  back, 
and  held  me  fast  until  Mr.  Reininger  arrived,  who  immediately  be- 
labored me  with  blows,  from  the  effects  of  which  I  did  not  recover 
for  some  time.  I  had  frequently  seen  Mr.  Reininger  before,  and 
though  I  perceived  he  was  a  robust,  broad-shouldered,  stout  built 
man  for  his  size,  I  did  not  think  there  was  so  much  strength  in  the 
arm  of  flesh,  until  1  felt  the  force  of  his  on  this  disastrous  occasion. 

I  was  now  completel^^  in  the  power  of  my  pursuer,  and  expected 
every  moment  to  be  dragged  to  a  magistrate  and  committed  once 


THE  ROBBER  AND  COUNTERFEITER.  73 

more  to  jail,  but  Mr.  Reininger  not  knowing  me  in  the  dark,  and 
thinking  no  doubt  that  he  had  alread}'  punished  me  sufflcientlj"  for 
the  unsuccessful  attempt,  discharged  me  from  his  grip,  when  I  lost 
no  time  in  making  off  as  fast  as  I  could.  I  returned  to  our  usual 
hiding  place  about  midnight,  and  suffering  the  most  excruciating 
pain  from  a  lacerated  shoulder  and  bruised  body,  lay  on  the  damp 
earth  until  daybreak,  without  an}^  mitigation  of  pain  or  relief  from 
sleep.  Apprehensive  that  the  dog  was  mad,  I  endured  the  utmost 
anxiety,  terror  and  suspense  for  nine  da3's  ;  after  the  termination 
of  this  period,  my  fears  arising  from  the  dreaded  effects  of  canine 
madness  subsided,  and  I  recovered  graduall}^  both  my  health  and 
spirits. 

Forming  suddenly  a  determination  of  going  to  ray  mother's,  I  re- 
solved upon  its  execution  as  soon  as  I  could  disengage  myself  from 
Connell}',  of  whose  compan}'  I  began  to  grow  tired,  but  Providence 
that  overrules  the  actions  and  destinies  of  men  had  otherwise  or- 
dained. As  we  had  been  so  long  connected  together  in  a  criminal 
intercourse,  it  was  to  be  our  fate  to  continue  in  the  same  career  of 
wickedness  until  both  should  expiate  their  crimes  by  the  justly 
merited  sacrifice  of  their  lives,  on  the  same  occasion  and  in  the 
same  manner.  My  wretched  companion  suspecting  mj'  intention 
to  leave  him,  procured  from  me  in  an  unguarded  moment  a  rash 
oath  that  we  should  never  separate  from  one  another  without  the 
consent  of  each.  A  false  pride  and  a  mistaken  sense  of  honor  oper- 
ating upon  a  mind  whose  moral  sense  was  weakened  by  vice,  and 
whose  conscience  was  hardened  by  crime,  I  determined  to  fulfil 
with  fidelity  what  I  had  promised  with  rashness.  Many  daj^s  had 
not  elapsed  after  this  before  I  became  affected  with  a  strange  present- 
iment, which  I  could  not  resist,  that  my  "  glass  was  nearly  run,"  and 
I  should  soon  be  called  to  answer  for  my  conduct  here  in  another 
world.  Notwithstanding  the  errors  of  m}'^  education,  and  the  wicked 
and  criminal  manner  in  which  I  had  spent  my  life,  I  never  disbe- 
lieved the  existence  of  a  God,  or  the  truths  of  Revelation  ;  but  my 
convictions  of  conscience  (if  such  they  can  be  called)  were  of  so 
transitory  a  nature  that  the}'  never  produced  any  fruit,  except  an 
occasional  fearful  apprehension  of  Divine  wrath  and  punishment, 
which  I  endeavored  to  remove  as  speedily  as  possible  b}'  embark- 
ing in  some  new  adventure,  or  engaging  in  fresh  scenes  of  dissipa- 
tion and  debauchery.  Not  being  able  to  overcome  this  feeling,  and 
acting  under  its  influence,  I  concluded  upon  paying  a  visit  to  Car- 
lisle, the  place  of  my  nativity,  once  more,  before  I  should  quit  this 


14  LIFE   AND   ADVENTURES   OF   DAVID   LEWIS, 

part  of  the  country  forever ;  as  my  intention  was  to  retire  to  Can- 
ada and  settle  there,  after  I  should  see  my  mother  and  make  prep- 
arations for  removing  my  wife  and  children.  Previous  to  my  de- 
parture I  was  engaged  in  several  enterprises  of  a  criminal  nature, 
In  some  of  which  we  were  fortunate,  and  in  others  unsuccessful. 
In  the  attempt  to  plunder  the  house  of  old  Mr.  Eberly,  and  I'ob  him 
of  a  large  sum  of  money  which  we  were  told  he  had  in  his  posses- 
sion, chiefly  in  old  gold  and  Spanish  dollars,  we  were  surprised  in 
the  act  by  an  alarm  made  by  the  family,  and  I,  in  particular,  was 
very  near  being  apprehended.  After  the  failure  of  this  attempt  I 
started  to  Carlisle  early  the  next  morning,  having  first  disguised 
my  person  as  well  as  I  could,  by  altering  my  clothing,  blackening 
my  whiskers  and  eyebrows,  covering  one  of  my  eyes  with  a  piece 
of  green  silk,  and  sticking  a  large  black  patch  on  my  left  cheek ;  in 
this  manner  I  arrived  in  Carlisle  about  twilight  in  the  evening,  car- 
rying a  bundle  of  old  clothing  under  my  arm,  and  affecting  the  in- 
firmity of  an  old  cripple. 

Afraid  to  expose  myself  by  remaining  too  long  in  the  same  place? 
and  anxious  to  avoid  the  risk  of  detection,  I  changed  my  situ- 
ation frequently,  and  mixed  with  different  companies  at  different 
times.  I  occasionally  became  a  party  to  the  conversations  carried 
on,  and  thus  became  acquainted  with  the  characters  of  some  of 
the  inhabitants,  and  the  passing  transactions  of  the  times,  which 
made  me  think  the  inhabitants  of  the  place  were  really  a  very 
queer  people.  In  one  of  my  rambles  through  the  streets,  I  hap- 
pened to  meet  with  and  immediately  recognized  the  man  with 
whom  I  attempted  to  pass  some  of  my  counterfeit  notes,  and 
through  whose  agency  I  was  verj^  near  being  arrested;  on  in- 
quiry I  found  his  real  name  to  be  Henry  C.  Marthens,  and  learnt 
that  he  had  removed  from  the  Walnut  Bottom  and  settled  in 
Carlisle.  I  likewise  gained  some  information  about  the  mare 
which  I  left  in  his  possession,  when  I  took  French  leave  of  him  and 
Colonel  M'Ginnis,  and  was  told  the  mare  was  sold  for  one  hundred 
dollars,  and  the  money  pocketed  by  Marthens.  As  Marthens  has 
no  right  either  to  the  mare  or  the  money,  he  will  do  an  act  of  justice 
only  if  he  returns  the  latter  to  my  poor  and  distressed  wife  and 
family,  whom  he  will  easily  find  either  in  Philadelphia  or  New  York. 
At  all  events  he  can  have  no  just  claim  to  the  monej^,  and  if  he  is 
unwilling  to  restore  it  to  my  family,  he  ought  at  least,  as  an  honest 
man,  ajopropriate  it  for  some  charitable  or  benevolent  use,  either  in 
mj^  name,  or  in  our  joint  names.     I  understood  that  this  man,  Mar- 


\ 

THE  ROBBER  AND  COUNTERFEITER.  75 

ttcns,  intended  to  make  the  tour  of  Europe,  whether  in  the  charac- 
ter of  Missionary'  or  Wandering  Jew,  I  did  not  hear;  his  object 
appeared  to  be  to  impose  on  the  credulous,  by  tendering  his  ser- 
vices to  collect  legacies  and  debts  in  the  old  countries. 

In  the  evening  I  repaired  to  the  house  in  which  I  was  born, 
situate  in  Hanover  street,  nearly-  opposite  Dr.  Foulk,  and  so  strong 
was  my  affection  for  the  "  natal  spot,"  that  I  stooped  down  and 
kissed  the  sill  of  the  door,  on  which  I  had  frequently  sat  by  the 
side  of  my  mother,  and  enjoyed  the  innocent  sports  of  boys  older 
and  bigger  than  myself  who  played  around  us  in  the  street.  I  was 
also  anxious  to  see  again  the  draw-well  which  stood  in  the  street  a 
short  distance  from  the  house,  and  expected  to  find  the  same  bucket 
hanging  in  the  well,  from  which  I  liad  often,  unknown  to  my  mother, 
allayed  my  thirst ;  but  finding  a  pump  in  its  stead  I  drew  up  as 
much  water  as  cooled  my  parched  and  burning  mouth,  which  I 
drank  out  of  the  hollow  of  my  hand  ;  but  alas  !  it  could  not  quench 
the  consuming  fire  that  razed  in  my  bosom.  The  scene  brought  to 
my  recollection  the  happy  days  of  infancy  and  innocence,  which 
had  gone  by  never  to  return,  and  the  comparison  between  what  I 
had  been  and  what  I  now  was  filled  m}-  heart  with  anguish,  and  my 
conscience  with  compunction  I  felt  as  one  possessed  of  two  dis- 
tinct souls,  and  two  opposite  natures,  one  inclining  him  to  virtue, 
and  the  other  drawing  him  to  vice  and  crime ;  the  strength  of  the 
latter  prevailed  over  the  weakness  of  the  former,  and  had  plunged 
me  in  that  deep  and  black  abyss  of  guilt  from  which  I  found  it  im- 
possible to  rise.  My  heart  was  torn  to  pieces  by  the  violence  of 
feelings  which  now  agitated  me,  and  I  shed  a  profuse  shower  of 
tears ;  but  tears  afford  relief  only  to  those  who  are  at  peace  with 
themselves  ;  alas  !  they  brought  none  to  a  miserable  wretch  so  guilty 
as  I  had  been.  This  gentle  fluid  of  humanit}',  while  it  ran  from  my 
inflamed  eyes,  only  scalded  my  cheeks  without  relieving  my  burst- 
ing heart.  I  remained  for  some  time  in  this  agonj^  of  feeling, 
transfixea  to  the  spot  like  a  statue  of  despair,  and  might  have  con- 
tinued to  remain  much  longer,  except  for  some  "  soft  sounds  of 
music  "  which  broke  upon  my  ear.  I  immediately  turned  round 
and  found  the  sound  proceeded  from  a  house  up  an  adjacent  alley, 
where  I  followed  until  I  came  to  the  stone  dwelling  from  which  the 
sound  issued.  I  stopped  and  listened  with  breathless  attention. 
Finding  it  resembled  the  melod}'^  of  sacred  music,  I  opened  the 
gate,  and  proceeded  to  the  window,  when,  peeping  through  one  of 
the  broken  shutters,  I  observed  the  delightful  spectacle  of  au  aged 


TG  LIFE   AND   ADVENTURES   OF    DAVID   LEWIS, 

couple  closing  the  labors  and  duties  of  the  day  in  exercises  of  de- 
votion and  worship.  It  was  a  sight  to  which  I  had  not  been  ac- 
customed, and  when  the  venerable  "man  of  God,"  in  the  conclud- 
ing prayer,  pronounced  with  the  voice  and  countenance  of  an  angel 
the  solemn  expression,  amen !  I  voluntarily  repeated  the  word  in 
so  loud  a  tone,  that  it  made  them  both  start  with  surprise  and 
astonishment;  but  lest  my  appearance,  by  remaining  longer,  should 
add  to  the  terror  of  this  worthy  pair,  I  instantly  escaped  without 
being  perceived. 

Retiring  from  the  interesting  spot  with  more  composure  than  I 
came  to  it,  my  meditations  recalled  to  my  memory  the  religious  im- 
pressions with  which  I  had  once  before  been  affected,  in  New  York, 
on  hearing  the  Reverend  Bishop  Hobart  preach  in  that  city,  and  I 
lamented  how  easily  they  had  been  effaced  by  the  guilt}^  pleasures 
and  criminal  scenes  in  which  I  indulged  on  that  occasion,  to  dissi- 
pate their  effects.  After  walking  the  streets  for  some  time  in 
search  of  a  resting  place  for  the  night,  I  happened  to  pass  by  the 
public  offices,  and  finding  the  door  open,  I  preferred  the  hard  bed 
and  miserable  shelter  which  the3'  might  afford  my  wearied  body,  to 
the  damp  and  unwholesome  air  to  which  I  must  expose  myself  from 
lying  on  one  side  of  the  stalls  in  the  open  market-place.  After 
placing  my  bundle  on  the  bricks  for  a  pillow,  I  laid  down  and  soon 
fell  into  a  sound  and  undisturbed  sleep,  from  which  I  did  not  awake 
until  my  ears  were  assailed  by  loud  crys  of  "  Gliddy  Glough,  Gliddy 
Glough."  I  was  not  long  in  discovering  that  the  sound  came  from 
a  poor  unfortunate  maniac,  of  the  name  of  Baggs,  whom  I  had  often 
seen  in  Carlisle  and  other  places.  I  accosted  him  without  apology, 
and  saying,  "  George,  be  still,"  the  inoffensive  idiot  immediately  re- 
plied, "  Oh  3'es,  Bill,"  and  without  more  ado  retired  to  a  corner  of 
the  entr}',  where  he  laid  down  and  remained  quiet  until  he  fell 
asleep,  much  happier  than  hundreds  who  lie  on  beds  of  down  under 
canopies  of  velvet.  Notwithstanding  my  poor  accommodations  for 
rest,  I  rose  at  day-break  much  refreshed,  and  returned  to  the  old 
haunt  at  East  Pennsboro,  where  I  rejoined  Connelly,  my  com- 
panion in  iniquity.  We  tarried  here  two  days,  and  on  the  morning 
of  the  third  commenced  our  journey  to  my  mother's.  The  conver- 
sation that  passed  between  us  on  the  road  chiefly  related  to  matters 
connected  with  the  course  of  life  in  which  we  had  so  long  been  en- 
gaged, and  the  impressions  made  on  my  mind  by  recent  circum- 
stances favoring  a  change  of  conduct  growing  weaker  and  weaker, 
I  soon  yielded  with  a  willing  mind  to  every  suggestion  and  propo- 


THE  ROBBER  AND  COUNTERFEITER.  77 

sition  that  came  from  my  dangerous  companion.  We  now  agreed 
to  renew  our  old  trade  of  robbery  and  plunder,  and  as  guilt  becomes 
bolder  by  repetition,  we  possessed  a  kind  of  factitious  courage, 
bordering  on  despair,  increased  greatly  b}''  the  very  circumstances 
of  dangers  we  were  in  ;  conscious  that  having  offended  against  the 
peace  of  society  and  the  laws  of  our  country,  no  prospect  appeared 
of  receiving  another  pardon. 

On  crossing  the  Juniata,  an  incident  was  brought  to  mj^  recollec- 
tion which  I  considered  as  a  very  unfortunate  circumstance  at  the 
time  it  happened.  It  was  as  follows  :  Having  got  possession  of  a 
very  large  sum  ot  money  in  notes  of  the  Carlisle  Bank,  which  I  had 
procured  in  exchange  for  counterfeits.  I  carefull3'  placed  them  in  a 
curious  envelope,  made  of  an  alligator's  skin,  tanned  at  Havana, 
which  the  unfortunate  Joseph  Hare,  lately  executed  at  Baltimore, 
had  purchased  at  Pensacola,  and  gave  me  for  a  keep-sake.  On  being 
pursued  through  the  Tuscarora  Mountains,  I  hid  the  skin  with  its 
contents  under  a  large  rock  that  projected  over  the  river.  During 
the  spring  freshet  the  rain  had  fallen  in  torrents,  and  the  flood  over- 
flowing the  bank,  washed  away  the  earth,  and  carried  off  the  rock 
into  the  Juniata  at  least  ten  feet  from  its  natural  bed.  Returning 
to  the  spot  about  three  months  after  the  freshet,  I  discovered  the 
ravages  of  the  flood,  and  though  I  searched  the  bank  of  the  river 
and  the  water  below  with  the  greatest  care,  I  was  unable  to  find 
either  money  or  purse,  an  accident  at  which  I  grieved  much  at  the 
time,  not  only  for  the  loss  of  the  notes  as  regarded  myself,  but  it 
distressed  me  not  a  little  to  think  any  of  the  Governor's  "  litter" 
should  profit  so  much  by  the  disaster ;  unless,  perchance,  some  for- 
tunate waterman  may  have  the  good  luck  to  discover  it  as  he  de- 
scends the  river. 

"We  moved  on  in  this  mood  for  some  time,  and  determined  not  to 
risk  much  by  pettj*  thefts  on  the  road,  reserving  all  our  skill  and 
courage  for  greater  exploits,  more  productive  of  gain,  and  at  the 
same  time  as  free  from  danger  as  enterprises  of  so  daring  a  nature 
permitted.  No  opportunity  for  plunder  happened  for  some  time, 
and  our  hopes  began  to  languish,  when  calling  at  a  miserable  grog 
shop,  we  overheard  a  conversation  between  the  landlad}'  and  a 
stranger,  the  latter  informing  her  that  a  wagon  loaded  with  store 
goods  belonging  to  Hamilton  &  Page,  of  Bellefonte,  was  expected 
shortly  to  pass.  This  animating  intelligence  raised  our  drooping 
spirits,  and  to  increase  our  ardor  for  plunder,  M'Guire.  another  of 
the  gang,  made  his  appearance  at  the  door  just  as  we  were  prepar 


78  LIFE    AND   ADVENTURES   OF    DAVID   LEWIS, 

ing  to  leave  the  house.  Affecting  to  treat  one  another  as  strangers, 
and  dissembling  our  knowledge  of  him  and  he  of  us,  we  took  our 
departure,  after  giving  a  secret  signal  known  only  to  the  fraternitj'. 
"We  had  proceeded  but  a  short  distance  before  we  were  overtaken 
by  our  old  companion,  and  having  communicated  to  him  the  infor- 
mation we  got  at  the  tavern,  we  concluded  upon  making  another 
bold  push  to  retrieve  our  fallen  fortunes.  To  accomplish  our  views 
with  more  securit}^  we  concerted  the  plan  of  robbing  the  wagon  in 
the  Seven  Mountains,  and  accordingly'  proceeded  to  execute  our 
purposes.  The  attempt  was  crowned  with  success,  and  the  spoil 
divided  between  us.  Elevated  with  our  good  luck  and  inflamed  with 
liquor,  we  made  another  attempt  to  rob  the  store  of  Mr.  James 
Potter,  of  Penn's  Valley,  the  next  morning  ;  but  though  we  com- 
menced the  operation  before  the  break  of  day,  and  had  the  advant- 
age of  being  armed  with  rifles,  we  were  unexpectedly  discovered, 
and  dreading  to  encounter  Mr.  Potter  and  his  family,  whom  I  knew 
to  be  a  brave  and  resolute  man,  we  decamped  on  the  first  notice  of 
a  surprise  without  making  any  resistance. 

After  this  M'Guire  was, dispatched  to  Bellefonte  to  reconnoitre, 
and  seek  out  safe  and  suitable  objects  of  plunder.  Assuming  the 
appearance  of  a  gentleman,  he  was  dressed  out  in  the  best  suit  we 
could  furnish,  and  in  this  character  entered  one  of  the  shops  with 
the  pretended  view  of  purchasing  store  goods,  while  his  chief  in- 
tention was  to  gain  information  and  make  his  observation  of  the 
premises,  particularly  as  to  the  manner  of  securing  the  store  at 
night,  and  the  vigilance  or  carelessness  of  the  owner.  Abandoning 
the  project  of  a  robbery  by  force,  we  now  resolved  to  attain  by 
stratagem  what  we  dreaded  to  effect  by  violence.  A  new  scheme 
was  adopted  :  M'Guire  was  to  return  in  the  garb  and  character  of 
a  laborer,  to  procure  employment,  and  after  gaining  admittance 
into  the  family  as  a  domestic,  he  was  to  carry  on  a  secret  corres- 
pondence with  us,  and  as  soon  as  the  plot  was  ripe  for  action,  in- 
troduce us  into  the  store  the  first  night  the  storekeeper  might  hap- 
pen to  be  absent.  But  owing  either  to  his  imprudence  or  the  sa- 
gacity of  the  storekeeper,  he  was  suspected  to  be  an  impostor  and 
refused  employment. 

On  the  return  of  M'Guire  the  news  of  his  failure  filled  us  with 
new  terror,  when  we  agreed  to  separate  for  a  time,  the  better 
to  avoid  detection  and  elude  the  officers  of  justice.  For  several 
days  I  concealed  myself  in  the  most  lonely  places  I  could  find  in 
the  vicinity  of  Bellefonte,  and  at  night  slept,  or  rather  lay  in  the 


THE  ROBBER  AND  COUNTERFEITER.  79 

woocls,  under  the  most  distressing  feelings  of  fear  and  alarm.  The 
least  noise  ^'as  sufficient  to  disturb  me,  and  the  dismal  scream  of 
the  screech  owl  terrified  my  imagination  with  awful  forebodings. 
One  night,  while  I  laj'^  under  a  large  oak,  my  thoughts  were  much 
engaged  in  meditating  upon  the  forlorn  condition  to  which  I  had 
brought  myself  b}^  my  imprudent  and  criminal  conduct — sleep  had 
forsaken  my  e^^elids,  and  my  waking  attention  was  alive  to  every 
noise  around  me.  The  shaking  of  a  tree,  or  the  fall  of  a  leaf  pro- 
duced agitation  and  trembling;  thus  I  spent  the  night,  anxious  for 
the  return  of  morning,  and  vainly  expecting  that  the  light  of  day, 
while  it  would  dissipate  the  darkness  that  overspread  the  earth, 
might  also  remove  the  deep  gloom  that  pervaded  my  mind.  Alas! 
the  sun  shines  onlj'  for  the  innocent  and  happ}' ;  and  those  who  are 
not  innocent  and  free  from  guilt  can  no  more  expect  to  find  happi- 
ness either  in  this  world  or  that  to  come,  than  they  can  look  for 
sunshine  in  the  midst  of  night,  without  disappointment.  During 
the  night  I  had  heard  a  strange  noise,  not  unlike  the  cracking  of  a 
horsewhip,  and  vay  mind  dwelling  on  the  recent  circumstance  of 
the  robbery  in  the  Seven  Mountains,  the  alarm  of  conscience  in- 
duced me  to  imagine  that  the  noise  proceeded  from  the  whip  of  the 
plundered  wagoner,  who  had  come  in  pursuit  of  me.  I  jumped  up 
and  stood  upon  m}^  feet,  expecting  everj^  moment  to  see  the 
wagoner  in  person,  and  feel  the  lash  of  his  whip.  The  moon  shed 
but  a  dim  light  through  the  thick  foliage  of  the  wood,  obscuring 
my  vision,  and  preventing  me  from  seeing  with  distinctness  even 
the  nearest  objects.  I  saw  no  human  figure,  heard  no  human  voice, 
and  concluded  that  the  noise  was  nothing  but  the  unreal  creation 
of  a  disturbed  imagination.  After  walking  about  for  a  few  min- 
utes, I  returned  to  my  resting  place  under  the  oak,  and  lay  under 
its  branches  until  the  da}^  dawned,  when  I  awoke  from  a  broken 
sleep  of  not  more  than  half  an  hour's  duration.  The  first  noise 
that  saluted  m}-  ears  was  a  repetition  of  the  same  sound  I  had 
heard  during  the  night ;  and  again  the  poor  wagoner  appeared  in 
full  view  to  the  e^-e  of  my  aflfrighted  fancy ;  but  the  terror  of  fancy 
can  never  equal  the  horror  of  realit}'.  Instead  of  the  wagoner  and 
his  whip,  I  perceived  one  of  the  most  terrific  objects  that  ever  ap- 
palled the  human  sight.  A  tremendous  snake  with  two  heads  lay 
within  five  feet  of  where  I  was,  alternately  jumping  up  from  the 
ground,  twisting  and  coiling  itself  and  at  intervals  dashing  its  tail 
against  the  trunk  of  a  hickory  sapling.  It  ceased  to  move  for  an 
instant  and  darted  at  me  the  angry  look  of  a  swollen  and  distended 


80  LIFE    AND    ADVENTURES   OF   DAVID   LEWIS, 

eye.  Horror  transfixed  me  to  the  spot  as  fast  as  the  oak  near 
which  I  stood.  Superstition,  like  fear,  generally  accompanies  guilt, 
and  I  now  believed  the  serpentine  monster  before  me  was  nothing 
less  than  the  devil,  who  had  left  the  infernal  abyss,  and  I'eappeared 
in  the  same  form  he  had  assumed  when  he  tempted  and  deceived 
our  first  frail  parents  in  the  garden  of  Eden.  The  design  of  his 
visit  I  considered  to  be  for  no  other  purpose  than  to  carry  me  off 
with  him  to  the  lower  regions,  body  and  soul,  as  a  just  punishment 
for  my  manifold  transgressions  ;  and  every  other  fear  was  swal- 
lowed up  in  the  dreadful  appi-ehension  of  being  instantly  devoured 
by  the  two-headed  monster.  Notwithstanding  the  violence  of  terror 
which  I  now  suffered,  the  impulse  of  self-preservation  and  the  love 
of  life  restored  me  to  a  degree  of  recollection  and  composure  suffi- 
cient to  enable  mc  to  fly  from  the  impending  danger.  I  immedi- 
ately assumed  a  desperate  courage,  and  snatching  up  my  rifle,  fled 
with  the  utmost  velocity  the  feet  of  man  are  capable  of,  just  as  this 
wonder  of  nature  had  resumed  its  occupation  of  striking  its  tail 
against  the  tree.  I  continued  my  flight  for  several  miles,  and  did 
not  cease  running  until  exhausted  nature  called  for  rest.  Having 
reached  a  safe  hiding  place,  T  concealed  myself  in  the  retreat  until 
night-fall,  when  I  expected  the  cloud  of  guilt-concealing  darkness 
might  aff"ord  greater  security  to  my  attempt  to  procure  some  food 
to  relieve  the  pressing  calls  of  hunger.  Wandering  about  from 
farm  to  farm,  I  happened  to  espy  a  smoking  oven,  and  seizing  a 
favorable  opportunity,  when  a  negro  wench,  who  had  been  ordered 
to  watch  the  oven,  had  fallen  asleep,  I  opened  the  mouth  and  stole 
a  loaf  of  half-baked  bread,  the  sweetest  morsel  I  had  eaten  in  my 
life,  as  long  fasting  and  want  of  sleep  had  given  a  keen  appetite  to 
my  empty  stomach.  After  securing  in  my  handkerchief  the  re- 
mains of  the  loaf,  I  ascended  to  the  top  of  a  large  hay-barrack,  and 
\a,y  there  till  morning,  enjo3'ing  as  composed  a  sleep  as  it  was  pos- 
sible for  one  to  do,  suffering  the  same  effects  from  an  aflTrighted 
imagination,  which  T  experienced  from  recent  scenes  of  terror  and 
horror.  I  know  my  relation  of  this  incident  may  be  considered  by 
many  too  wonderful  for  belief,  but  I  assure  the  reader  on  the  word 
of  a  dying  man,  that  I  am  within  the  bounds  of  truth  when  I  say 
that  the  snake  of  which  I  have  just  spoken  would  have  measured 
at  least  twenty  feet  in  length,  and  had  two  heads  and  two  tails,  one 
of  the  tails  appearing  to  come  out  of  the  mouth  of  the  other,  with 
two  large  frightful  eyes  in  each  head. 

Before  the  separation  of  my  companions,  we   had   previously 


THE  ROBBER  AND  COUNTERFEITER.  81 

agreed  upon  meeting  together  at  the  Bald  Eagle.  I  found  them 
there  waiting  for  me  with  impatient  anxiety,  and  after  accounting 
for  ui}-  detention  we  stole  a  canoe,  and  proceeded  in  it  until  within 
a  short  distance  of  the  Big  Island.  Ilere  we  put  to  shore,  and 
wearied  with  carrying  our  stolen  burdens,  we  burned  a  part  of  the 
goods  of  Messrs.  Hammond  &  Page.  The  smell  drawing  some  per- 
sons to  the  spot,  a  discovery  took  place,  which  ended  in  the  arrest 
of  M'Guire.  Connelly  and  I  now  separated  to  wander  in  the  adja- 
cent hills,  each  taking  his  rifle,  and  fixing  on  the  plan  of  firing  and 
whistling  as  the  signal  for  finding  one  another.  The  next  morning 
we  crossed  the  river,  got  our  breakfast,  and  run  some  bullets  at  a 
house  close  by  ;  we  now  started  for  the  Sinuemahoning,  and  reached 
the  junction  of  Bennet's  and  the  Driftwood-Branch;  proceeding 
thence  up  the  Driftwood-Branch,  we  arrived  in  the  afternoon  at  the 
house  of  Samuel  Smith,  and  stopped  to  shoot  at  a  mark  with  some 
persons  who  happened  to  be  there.  While  engaged  in  this  sport,  a 
number  of  persons  hove  in  si2^ht,and  recognizing  Connelly  and  me, 
they  demanded  our  immediate  surrender,  observing  that  if  we  sur- 
rendered peaceably  we  should  be  well  used.  Connelly  swore  a  ter- 
rible oath,  that  sooner  than  do  so  he  would  "  blow  them  all  to  hell." 
Having  determined  never  to  deprive  a  fellow-being  of  life,  except  in 
necessary  defence,  I  was  reduced  to  the  painful  alternative  of  being 
overpowered  by  numbers,  or  shoot  at  them  to  save  myself.  Seizing 
a  gun  I  snapped  it  twice,  tiring  at  random,  but  luckily  it  did  not  go 
ott".  At  the  same  moment  Connelly  fired  his,  aiming  point  blank 
ai  one  of  the  party  in  pursuit.  Having  procured  another  gun,  I 
fired  it  also,  without  aiming  at  any  one  in  particular.  The  fire  was 
quickly  returned  by  the  party,  when  another  request  was  made  for 
our  surrender.  We  now  perceived  that  all  hopes  of  escape  were 
cut  off,  and  actuated  by  a  false  spirit  of  revenge,  we  uttered  the 
most  improper  threats  of  defiance,  and  called  aloud  for  them  to  fire 
away,  discharging  our  guns  at  the  same  time.  The  fire  was  imme- 
diately answered  with  a  volly  from  the  assailants ;  Connelly  escaped 
the  shots,  but  I  was  wounded  in  the  right  arm,  a  little  above  the 
wrist,  and  fell.  Connelly  started  and  run,  but  as  he  retreated 
through  a  grain  field  over  the  creek,  he  was  fired  at,  and  afterwards 
was  found  hid  in  a  tree  top,  with  a  severe  wound  in  his  groin,  im- 
mediately below  the  belly,  the  bullet  penetrating  the  left  side  and 
descending  had  come  out  at  the  outside  of  the  right  thigh. 

Having  dressed  our  wounds  with  all  the  skill  and  care  they  were 
ciijjable  of,  the  party  who  took  us  purchased  a  canoe,  and  prepared 


82  LIFE   AND    ADVENTURES   OF   DAVID   LEWIS, 

to  move  us  down  the  river,  and  on  Sunday,  the  3d  of  Jul}',  lauded 
near  the  Big  Island,  in  Lycoming  count}'.  We  were  then  taken  to 
Carskadden's  tavern,  and  attended  b}'  three  phj^sicians  and  a  min- 
ister of  the  gospel.  My  unhappy  companion,  receiving  no  assist- 
ance from  medical  aid,  and  no  comfort  from  the  ministerial  offices 
of  religion,  died  that  night  in  gloom}'  eullenness.  Peace  to  his 
ashes.  Though  the  period  allowed  for  repentance  was  shoi't,  may 
the  mercy  of  God  be  greater  than  his  repentance,  and  forgive  all 
his  sins  and  all  his  crimes. 

I  was  removed  to  this  place  as  soon  as  my  wound  permitted,  and 
with  as  much  tenderness  and  humanity  as  the  nature  of  the  case 
allowed  of. 

I  have  now  brought  the  history  of  my  adventures  to  a  close,  hav- 
iug  given  as  faithful  a  relation  of  the  more  important  incidents  of 
my  life  as  my  memory  enables  me  to  recollect  in  my  present  dis- 
tracted state  of  mind,  and  suffering  condition  of  bodily  pain.  I 
have  been  thus  particular  to  gratify  the  wish  of  a  near  and  dear 
friend,  who  has  always  taken  the  greatest  interest  in  my  fate,  at- 
tended me  frequently  in  my  illness,  and  who  has  promised  to  re- 
main the  friend  of  my  wife,  whom  a  few  days  more  will  make  a 
widow,  and  the  father  of  my  children,  soon  to  become  the  orphans 
of  charity  without  his  protecting  care.  In  addition  to  my  anxiet}'' 
to  oblige  one  who  was  my  friend  in  adversity,  I  have  been  induced 
to  undergo  the  painful  task  of  making  this  confession,  with  the 
hope  and  belief  that  the  publication  of  my  unhappy  case  may  be 
useful,  not  only  to  my  surviving  companions,  and  to  society  in  gen- 
eral, but  more  especially  to  youth  of  the  rising  generation ;  oper- 
ating as  a  solemn  warning  to  old  and  young  against  indulging  in 
the  same  wicked  practices  which  have  distinguished  my  unhappy 
life,  and  brought  ruin  on  myself,  and  disgrace  upon  my  family  and 
connections. 

The  ways  of  sin  can  have  no  pleasure  in  them.  If  every  I'obber 
and  criminal  found  as  little  satisfaction  in  following  the  pursuits  of 
vice  "as  I  have  done,  he  must  confess  their  insufficiency  to  obtain 
happiness,  or  even  a  common  share  of  tranquillity.  During  the  day 
I  have  felt  as  if  the  eyes  of  all  men  were  upon  me,  and  at  night  was 
undei"  a  constant  dread  of  secret  apprehension. 

Alas !  the  only  little  happiness  I  ever  tasted  was  in  the  bosom  of 
my  family,  and  in  the  society  of  my  wife.  When,  after  a  guilty 
round  of  crime  and  dissipation,  I  have  returned  to  the  little  room 
that  contained  my  beloved  Melinda,  "  the  calm  abode  of  humble 


THE  ROBBER  AND  COUNTERFEITER.  83 

virtue,"  and  found  her  engaged  in  the  concerns  of  domi'stic  indus- 
try— when  I  have  entered  by  surprise  and  perceived  her,  unseen, 
sitting  at  the  wheel,  and  heard  her  singing  the  old  song  of  "  Bess 
and  her  Spinning  Wheel,"  I  have  been  overpowered  with  feelings  of 
delight,  and  shed  tears  of  jo}'. 

Although  I  deeply  lament  my  second  marriage,  and  blame  m3'self 
for  involving  an  amiable  stranger  in  distress  and  misfortune,  I  pray 
for  her  forgiveness,  and  hope  she  will  continue  the  mother  and 
guardian  of  my  little  girls,  whose  tender  years  will  require  all  her 
care  and  all  her  instruction  to  raise  them  up  in  virtue  and  industry. 
When  I  last  saw  them  they  promised  to  be  as  beautiful  as  the 
daughters  of  Job ;  should  they  be  as  virtuous  as  their  lovely  name- 
sakes, I  shall  not  have  lived  altogether  in  vain,  but  may  be  honored 
after  my  death  in  the  honors  paid  to  them,  and  have  the  disgraceful 
end  of  an  ignominious  life  washed  away  by  the  virtuous  otfspring 
of  my  Jemima  and  Kesiah. 

Philadelphia,  in  m}'  opinion,  is  by  no  means  a  good  place  to  bring 
up  a  farail3\  There  are  fewer  snares  and  less  temptations  in  the 
country  than  in  the  city ;  under  this  impression,  I  recommend  it  to 
my  wife  to  return  to  Fayette,  as  soon  as  she  can  make  the  necessary 
arrangements  for  a  removal  of  herself  and  children. 

While  I  have  been  in  jail,  I  have  received  every  attention  due  to 
one  in  ra}-  situation,  not  onl}"  from  the  physicians  of  the  town,  but 
the  ladies  and  gentlemen  generally ;  and  to  Sherifl  Mitchell  and  his 
excellent  lady  I  should  be  most  ungrateful  indeed  if  I  did  not  ex- 
press my  thanks  for  the  mau}^  kind  offices  of  humanit}'  and  benev- 
olence they  continued  to  bestow  on  me  from  the  firsi  day  of  my 
lodgment  in  jail.  The  jailer  and  his  family  have  been  equally  kind 
and  good  ;  and  I  die  at  peace  with  all  men.  The  party  who  pursued 
and  took  me  I  sincerely  forgive  for  being  the  instrument  of  my 
death.  Acting  under  the  authority  of  the  law,  they  performed  only 
their  duty  as  good  citizens,  and  have  set  an  example  worthy  of  imi- 
tation, in  risking  their  own  lives  to  save  society  and  liberate  the 
country  from  the  depredations  and  terrors  of  a  desperate  baud  of 
robbers,  counterfeiters  and  outlaws. 

To  the  amiable  minister  who  visited  me  in  jail,  and  praj'ed  for 
me  and  with  me,  when  I  lay  on  my  miserable  pallet,  looking  with 
fear  and  trembling  in  awful  suspense  for  the  approach  of  death,  I 
return  the  unfeigned  thanks  of  an  oppressed  sinner,  for  his  frequent 
intercessions  at  the  throne  of  grace  in  my  behalf  And  you,  my 
kind  friend,  who  have  promised  to  remain  with  me  and  close  my  eyes, 


84  LIFE   AND   ADVENTURES   OP   DAVID   LEWIS. 

accept  ray  grateful  acknowledgments  for  all  you  have  done  for  me, 
and  when  j^ou  have  seen  me  laid  with  decency  in  the  grave,  bear  to 
my  mother  the  last  token  of  remembrance  she  will  ever  receive  from 
her  dying  son — a  small  lock  of  hair,  cut  with  his  own  hand  from 
the  head  of  the  unfortunate,  but  repentant 

Bellefonte  Jail,  12th  July,  1820.  DAYID  LEWIS. 

[  David  Lewis,  the  robber,  died  in  the  Bellefonte,  Pa.,  jail  on 
July  13th,  1820.— Ed.] 


^